While many people still use the term “child custody,” Illinois laws and family courts now use the term “parental responsibility.” Though the term has changed, the premise stays the same – when two parents divorce or otherwise decide not to live together, they must decide where the child will live and how to divide decision-making authority for the child’s life.
Parental responsibility cases can be fairly straightforward or highly complex, depending on your situation. In any case, you want to make sure your legal parental rights and relationship with your child are protected. Never wait to contact a child custody lawyer in Evanston who can represent you.
Parental responsibility is divided into two different aspects – parenting time and decision-making power. Parenting time dictates when the child will live with each parent and the schedule for switching back and forth between parental homes. Decision-making power refers to each parent’s ability to make major life decisions for the child regarding healthcare, religious upbringing, education, and similar matters.
Both parenting time and decision-making power can be divided in different ways:
There is no presumption in favor of either joint or sole parental responsibility, or for a mother over a father (or vice versa). Each case is approached differently, as there are no one-size-fits-all solutions for child custody.
There are also options for how parents can resolve parental responsibility matters. First, parents can sit down and work together to find an arrangement that works for everyone involved. It is helpful to negotiate through your attorneys, as they will be able to protect your rights and understand what type of arrangement will be in accordance with Illinois law.
If you reach an agreement through negotiation or mediation, you can submit it to the court for approval. The family judge should approve an arrangement they find to be in the best interests of the child.
If you cannot reach an agreement – for instance, one parent is irrationally fighting for sole custody without a valid reason – you might have to take the matter before the court. The law requires the judge to consider what arrangement would be in the best interests of the child and consider the following factors, among others:
Custody determinations can be complicated and emotional, and you want a child custody lawyer in Evanston on your side. The Law Offices of George M. Sanders, P.C., represents parents in these cases, so please contact us today.