Allocation of Parental Responsibilities: Do I Have a Say?

parental responsibilities

Laws regarding parenting between divorced spouses have changed dramatically in Illinois. Once called child custody, these new laws went into effect at the beginning of 2016 and are now referred to as allocation of parental responsibilities. Ultimately, the court will award parental decision-making tasks, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a say in the process.

The new Illinois law, in fact, calls for a parent plan to outline items included in the allocation of parental responsibilities. These documents are similar to the joint parenting plans or agreed orders previously used in family law cases for custody, visitation and support issues. The idea behind the new law is to make these agreements more structured and to better reflect how decisions are actually made.

Assignment of Responsibilities:

Under the previous law, child custody was generally designated as sole custody or joint custody to determine who would make the final decision in major areas of a child’s life. In other words, either one or both parents would make all decisions. Under the 2016 Illinois Child Custody law, the court will determine which parent will be responsible for each subject.

The four major areas that are part of such agreements are:

  • Health/medical for doctors, dentists and necessary treatments
  • Education, covering choice of schools, programs or tutors
  • Extracurricular activities such as sports, school clubs, etc.
  • Religion

The court will only assign responsibility for religious upbringing when there is clear evidence that the parents had followed specific practices or had a prior agreement on this issue.

A judge can now award education and extracurricular decisions, for example, to the mother, while healthcare decisions are the father’s responsibility. The facts and circumstances of each situation will determine assignment of parental responsibilities.

Developing a parenting agreement with the help of Chicago family law attorneys that you and your ex-partner can agree on before heading to court is in your best interests as judges will often award responsibilities per your decisions. For help in determining parental responsibilities, contact the law offices of Michael P. Doman for help.