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Illinois Eliminates Child Custody and Visitation

Posted on in Family Law

Illinois Eliminates Child Custody and VisitationIn the beginning of the year, Illinois got rid of the family law terms “custody” and “visitation.” Now the law that governs who children will live with after a divorce and who has the power to make decisions for the children, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, uses the terms “parenting time” and “allocation of parental responsibilities” instead. Though these terms have been in use since the beginning of the year, many people still may be confused about what the change means and the reasons for the change. This article discusses what the changes mean for couples struggling with child custody and visitation issues.

Definitions of the New Terms

While the terms “parenting time” and “allocation of parental responsibilities” are similar to “visitation” and “custody,” they actually divide up parenting concepts in different ways. Custody generally referred to who the children lived with and also who had the power to make decisions on behalf of the children. Visitation meant the legally protected right of the parent who the kids do not live with to spend time with the children. Now, instead of having one parent who the kids live with and who makes decisions, parenting time and allocation of parental responsibilities divides the rights in a different way.

“Parenting Time”

Parenting time is who the child will live with and spend time with. Courts generally want both parents to be meaningfully involved in their children’s lives. Therefore, instead of the idea that one parent has the kid primarily and the other just gets to visit, both parents have parenting time. Though it may make sense for one parent to have more parenting time than the other parent, the idea of parenting time instead of custody may help both parents to feel equally invested in the child and preserve relationships between both parents and the child.

“Allocation of Parental Responsibility”

Similar to moving away from one parent being seen as a “primary parent” and the other seen as having a lesser role in parenting, “allocation of parental responsibility” divides up the decision-making power of the child based on what makes sense for the family. In the past, generally, one or both parents would have sole or joint decision-making power over all the major decisions. Now, the responsibilities themselves can be divided up in a way that works for the family. For example, if one parent knows a lot about sports and the other parent does not, the parent who is knowledgeable in the area can take on the responsibility of deciding on what sports the child will play. These new concepts allow for more of a personalized arrangement of rights and time with the child.

DuPage County Family Law Attorneys

If you are thinking about a divorce and are concerned about parenting time and parental responsibility allocation, you should talk to a knowledgeable Illinois family law attorney. Our experienced family law attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC, in DuPage County, Illinois, can help you to make your case to get the parenting time and parental responsibility allocation that you want.  

Sources:

http://www.daily-journal.com/news/local/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-new-parental-responsibilities/article_f68105e4-c8f1-5791-a0bd-818c9f41faf4.html
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=8300000&SeqEnd=10000000

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