The Child Custody Process: What to Expect and How to Make the Arrangements Work for You
As of the of January 1, 2016, Illinois law refers to child custody as the allocation of parental responsibilities. The concept behind the term child custody still remains the same, however. Divorcing parents work together with the court and an attorney to create new lifestyle arrangements for their children and determine who is responsible for making what decisions for them. The agreements include everything from where the child will live, who they will live with, and how the child’s education, extracurricular activities, and religious practices will be managed.
Asking for Parental Responsibilities
The filing process for allocation of parental responsibilities will vary from county to county, but throughout Illinois you can expect to go through the following steps:
- Obtain legal representation and file the petition;
- Make an appointment for a case management conference (This must be done no later than 90 days after you file the petition); and
- Serve the other parent the filed petition with a summons.
After you complete the initial first stages of the process, you await a response from the other parent. If they fail to respond, the next step is to ask the court for a default judgement.
Create a Parenting Plan That Suits Your Family’s Needs
Handling all the technical details for filing for allocation of parental responsibilities is just one piece of the process. The most important, if not most impactful part, is defining the guidelines that will dictate how you and your former spouse are to raise your children now that the family is separated. You are both required to file a parenting plan, which will outline parenting time (visitation) and any specifics that pertain to your child’s daily routine and upbringing.
When drafting a parenting plan, be sure to consider your child’s needs, preferences, and existing lifestyle. Identify and list any rule or guideline that you feel is priority, and how you feel that rule would best be carried out. Should the other parent disagree with your parenting plan or vice versa, the judge has the power to send you to mediation, where a professional will intervene and try to help you both reach an agreement.
Inform Yourself and Communicate Clearly
Informing yourself and communicating clearly with both the court and the other parent are key to a smooth filing process. Work with a knowledgeable Kane County family law attorney to begin your quest for allocation of parental responsibilities today. Call Shaw Family Law, P.C. at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.