When couples end their marriage, one of the
most contentious areas of the divorce process involves the allocation of
parenting time and parenting responsibilities. While the goal of every divorce
is to reach an amicable agreement that is in the best interests of the
children, this isn’t always easily achieved.
In 2016, a new Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act was
passed. The new statutes no longer used the terms “custody” or “visitation”
when discussing parenting responsibilities. Instead, Illinois law recognized
the need for parents to divide the childcare responsibilities and parenting time
so that both parents were able to maintain a relationship with their children.
As such, the law recognized two separate
divisions for parents as it relates to caring for their minor children:
parenting responsibilities and parenting time.
However, there are differences regarding the
allocation of parenting responsibilities and parenting time. Understanding
those differences can help make the divorce and co-parenting process go
smoother for separated couples.
Allocation of Parental
Illinois law outlines various caretaking
functions of parenting minor children. Some of these functions include managing
bedtime and wake up routines, caring for their personal hygiene, and attending
medical appointments. However, it can also include making more serious
decisions concerning the welfare of the children.
Parents need to come to an agreement regarding
who is responsible for making important decisions relating to the care of their
children. This is known as the allocation of parental responsibilities.
These important decisions include healthcare,
religious upbringing, education, and extracurricular activities. If parents
cannot come to a mutual agreement regarding the allocation of these
responsibilities, the court will allocate decision-making responsibilities
according to the child’s best interests.
The new Illinois law allows for the separate
allocation of each of those parental responsibilities. For example, both
parents may share parental responsibilities for making all extracurricular and
educational decisions, while the father may make all decisions regarding their
religious upbringing and the mother may make all decisions regarding
Parenting time is simply the amount of time
each week that a parent spends with their child in a caretaker capacity. This
time is typically outlined in a parenting plan and often includes the amount of
time each parent spends with children each week, where children will reside,
and how holidays are to be spent. It may also include details about how
information will be shared between parents and other important parenting
It is important to know that Illinois law is
gender neutral and favors neither parent. Instead, divorcing couples are
expected to reach an agreement that is in the best interests of the children.
If an agreement regarding parenting time cannot
be reached, the courts will make a determination based on numerous factors,
including which parent has been the primary caregiver, wishes of the children,
where children go to school, and work schedules, among many other factors.
Divorce Is Never Easy
Divorce is never easy and parents often find
themselves at odds over how to raise the children and continue parenting from
two separate households. Illinois law strives to help eliminate confusions and
contentions regarding childcare responsibilities and parenting time. Whenever
possible, divorcing couples should work together to arrive at a mutually
beneficial agreement that puts the needs of the children front and center.
While the needs of the children should always
come first, divorcing parents have an opportunity to arrive at creative
solutions that can enhance their co-parenting relationship and eliminate future
An experienced Barrington Divorce Attorney can
help you through this difficult time and protect your parenting rights along
the way. An amicable solution is possible with the right legal guidance. With
the right legal assistance throughout the divorce process, even the most
contentious couples can often reach an agreement that meets the needs of all
Contact Our Barrington Divorce
Your divorce may be the most stressful time in
your life. However, with the right guidance and an experienced Barrington
Divorce Attorney on your side, you may navigate these troubled waters a little
To learn more about parenting rights,
parenting time, and the allocation of parental responsibilities, give our law
office a call immediately. Call (866) 390-0672 or fill
out our confidential
contact form for a free consultation with one of our experienced and
compassionate Barrington divorce lawyers. We are proud to
serve clients at our North Barrington, Waukegan, and Hinsdale offices. Call today!