Allocation of Parental Responsibilities
Throughout the years and perhaps due to the change in family dynamics in our country, the family law regarding child custody and visitation schedules have undergone significant changes. No longer are we in the ages of the clear cut, laid out in a black-and-white model of care arrangements. Legislators realized that there is no one-size-fits-all model. Instead of joint custody or sole custody division, Illinois has the additional assignment of parental responsibility. Although transitions such as these are beneficial because they allow the courts to mold a solution suitable for each family, terms become increasingly blurred and challenging for someone unfamiliar with the area. It is not uncommon for questions to arise when determining the best outcome for each child.
The Best Interest of the Child
As always, Illinois focuses on the best interest of the child, occasionally even if that is against the guardian's preferences. A judge will take into consideration if someone is unwilling or has a lack of want to care for the child, as well as those who do prefer to look after the child, however other factors play into consideration. By Illinois law, 15 factors influence the determination of parental control, including:
- The child’s wishes and needs,
- The child’s adjustment to the home, school, and surrounding community,
- The mental and physical health of all parties,
- The relationship of the parents (i.e. contentious, cooperative, etc.)
- The history each parent has in decision making for the child,
- Parental wishes,
- Potential restrictions on decision-making capabilities,
- Abuse, and
- Sex offender registrant status.
Regardless of which parent has physical custody of the child involved, there is a separate matter of who has the decision-making capabilities. There is no legal obligation stating that both parents have an equal right to choose the upbringing of the child. For instance, a judge may determine that the mother can make a decision regarding education whereas the father makes the decision about religion. The major areas in which a judge determines who controls the decision making include:
- Religion, and
- Extracurricular activities.
Have Your Questions Answered
It is natural to have questions with regards to the future of your children, especially during a tumultuous time such as divorce. A simple internet search may turn up a significant amount of data. However, the only way to be sure that the information you receive applies to your city as well as that the law is up to date is to consult with an attorney. If you would like to have your questions answered during a free consultation with a Kane County family law attorney, contact Shaw Sanders, P.C. today by calling 630-584-5550.