Making custodial arrangements for a couples’ children is an integral part of divorce negotiations.
Recent changes in Illinois’ Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act have redefined child custody. This updated law no longer uses the phrase “custody” of children. The appropriate terms are the allocation of parental responsibilities for decision-making and parenting time.
However, these modifications may still leave parents with questions. Understanding the answers to these questions is necessary for effective negotiation.
What is the difference between decision-making and parenting time?
Parenting time is the duration that children physically spend with either parent. In contrast, decision-making responsibilities include making medical choices, selecting schools, enrolling in extracurricular activities and participating in a religion. Illinois law does not assume each parent deserves an equal share of either responsibility, and it focuses on creating arrangements that are in the children’s best interest.
How can parents create parental responsibility arrangements on their own?
When parents separate, the courts allow them to negotiate parental responsibilities amongst themselves. Through open communication, parents create an arrangement that splits parenting time and parental responsibilities in a way that is best for both them and their kids.
How do courts assign parental responsibilities?
If parents can not agree on an arrangement, the courts determine what is best for the children. Some things a judge may consider are:
- The physical and mental health of each parent
- How well the parents get along with each other
- Any past violence
- How far apart the parents live from each other and the children’s schools
- The wishes of each child
A parents’ divorce can be a stressful time for kids. Setting aside parental differences and keeping the children’s best interests in mind creates a more positive home life.