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Evanston Child Custody

Evanston Child Custody Lawyers

Family Lawyer Advocating for Clients in Child Custody Cases in Evanston, Illinois

Child custody laws in Illinois are complex, especially now that the law allocates parental responsibilities instead of awarding child custody to parents. This relatively recent change in the law was designed to provide more flexibility to families in Evanston and throughout Illinois, recognizing the importance of the parent-child relationship and the distinct ways that relationship develops in different family situations.

Do you have questions? An Evanston child custody lawyer can get started on your case today.

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities in Evanston

Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), the court is responsible for allocating decision-making responsibilities according to what is in the child’s best interests. Parental responsibilities include both significant decision-making responsibilities about the child’s upbringing and long-term well-being (formerly “legal custody”), as well as parenting time, or daily caretaking responsibilities for the child (formerly “physical custody,” or “visitation”).

Significant decision-making responsibilities used to be known as “legal custody,” while parenting time used to be discussed in terms of “physical custody” or “visitation.”

Evanston Significant Decision-Making Responsibilities and Parenting Time

The changes to the law make it so that parents can share certain responsibilities based on family needs, while specific responsibilities can be the responsibility of just one parent. For example, one parent may be responsible for the child’s religious education, while both parents may share in making significant decisions about the child’s healthcare. When the court allocates parental responsibilities involving significant decision-making responsibilities, it typically considers the following major issues:

  • Education;
  • Health;
  • Religion; and
  • Extracurricular activities.

Differently, when the court allocates parenting time, it is determining which parent will provide day-to-care caretaking functions for the child during specific periods of time. When parents can agree to parental responsibilities, they can work together to create a parenting plan that outlines parental responsibilities and each of the parents’ roles in the child’s upbringing. When parents cannot agree, however, the court will determine parental responsibilities—or will “allocate parental responsibilities”—and will issue what is known as an allocation judgment.

Using the Best Interests of the Child Standard in Evanston

In allocating parental responsibilities or signing off on a family’s parenting plan, courts in Illinois continue to use the best interests of the child standard. This means that the court can use many different factors listed in the IMDMA to decide what is in the best interests of the child, or it can look to other factors that are specific to a family’s situation in making that determination.

Examples of factors that can play a role in determining the child’s best interests include but are not limited to:

  • Child’s preferences;
  • Parents’ wishes;
  • Health and well-being of all the parties involved;
  • Child’s previous lifestyle with parents before the divorce;
  • Child’s acclimation to home, school, and community;
  • Child’s special needs; and
  • Parents’ ability to cooperate with one another.

Contact an Evanston Child Custody Attorney

If you need help with your child custody case, an Evanston child custody attorney can assist you. Contact the Law Office of George M. Sanders, P.C. today.

Contact Our Illinois Divorce & Custody Law Firm Today

You will find our attorneys to be flexible, responsive, and ready to begin providing exceptional representation to protect your rights and your best interests immediately. Call our law office now at 312-624-7645 to schedule a consultation about your family law needs at no initial charge.


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