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Wheaton, IL Lawyer for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Winfield child custody attorney

Attorney for Child Custody Matters in DuPage County and Surrounding Areas

The care of a minor child is a matter of utmost importance in any case involving the parents' divorce or legal separation, or in the case of unmarried parents after a judgment of legal parentage. For this reason, Illinois courts seek to ensure that the terms of child custody, now known as the allocation of parental responsibilities, are in the child's best interests. Parents are also often motivated to protect their children's interests in these legal proceedings. However, it is not always easy to determine the best way to do so.

At Hensley Sendek Law, Attorney Jessica Sendek helps parents achieve resolutions to their divorce and child custody matters so that they are able to maintain a quality relationship with their children and secure their children's well-being. With over 10 years of family law experience, Attorney Sendek brings a breadth of knowledge and a personalized, one-on-one approach to each client she serves and each case she handles. She will work with you to reach the best possible outcome for you and your family.

Allocating Parenting Time and Decision-Making in Illinois

Under the current version of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, legal matters that were previously referred to using the term "child custody" now fall under the category of the allocation of parental responsibilities. There are two primary issues that must be addressed when parental responsibilities are allocated. These issues are:

  1. Parenting time, which refers to the allocation of time during which the children will reside with each parent, and during which the parent will be expected to provide for the children's regular care. Common terms used to refer to parenting time in the past include "physical custody" and "visitation."
  2. Significant decision-making responsibilities, which refer to each parent's authority to make decisions regarding important issues related to the children's health care, education, religion, and extracurricular activities. This decision-making authority is similar to what you may have heard referred to as "legal custody."

In most cases, both parents are allocated some degree of both parenting time and decision-making responsibility. However, the allocation will not necessarily be equal. One parent may be granted a larger share of parenting time than the other. A parent may also be granted sole decision-making authority for some or all significant issues even when both parents share parenting time.

Ensuring a Child's Best Interests

Illinois courts recognize that in most cases, it is in a child's best interest for both parents to be allocated significant responsibilities and that the parents may be able to cooperate to create a parenting agreement that addresses both parenting time and decision-making. The court will often approve an agreement between the parents if it is in the best interest of the child. If the parents have competing priorities or the best interests of the child are in question, the court will consider the following factors in issuing a decision on the allocation of parental responsibilities:

  • The wishes of the parents and the child
  • The needs of the child
  • The physical and mental health of the child and parents
  • The child's connection to his or her current home, community, and school
  • Past history or agreements regarding the parent's involvement in decisions about the child
  • Each parent's willingness and ability to cooperate and support the child's relationship with the other parent

The court can also decide to restrict parenting time or decision-making for a parent who poses a danger to the child's health or well-being. If the parents are unable to agree on the allocation of parental responsibilities, the court may appoint a Guardian ad Litem to speak with the children, parents, and others involved with the children and make recommendations to the court about what is in the children's best interests.

Interstate and International Child Custody Issues

In addition to child custody matters that fall entirely within the jurisdiction of Illinois, we also assist with cases that cross state or national boundaries, including:

These issues can be especially complicated, but we have the experience to help you navigate them to protect your parental rights and ensure that your children are safe and protected when they are removed from their home, or at risk of being removed from their home.

Contact a Warrenville Child Custody Attorney

If you have questions about any legal issue related to child custody or parental responsibilities, contact us for a free initial consultation at 630-358-9029. From our office in Wheaton, IL, we serve clients in Warrenville, Naperville, Winfield, Lisle, Lombard, Glen Ellyn, West Chicago, DuPage County, Cook County, Kane County, and Will County.

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