wheaton divorce lawyerThe vast majority of parents are committed to discovering their children’s needs and wants on an ongoing basis and most parents spend many sleepless nights trying to help their children solve life’s problems and learn the necessary lessons they need to succeed. Divorce can throw a major wrench into the process of raising a child, however; not only do you have to continue raising your child with your ex, but now there are strict, legally binding guidelines dictating how you will make decisions for your child and where they will spend their time. 

Some parents can manage this well together, even after divorce; some parents struggle to cooperate. But for some parents, there is an additional concern: What if the behavior of your child’s other parent means they could be unsafe in that parent’s care? Is it possible to get full custody of a child in Illinois if one parent is endangering the child? Read on to learn the answers to these questions. 

What is the Difference Between Parenting Time and Parental Responsibilities? 

Illinois does not use the terms “custody” and “visitation” anymore. Instead, they use the terms “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time.” These essentially describe the same ideas as the previous terms: Parental responsibility is the authority to make important decisions on behalf of the child; visitation is the time each parent spends with the child caring for him or her.

Illinois law emphasizes the importance of a child’s need to develop strong relationships with each parent whenever possible. Parents are encouraged to work together to create a parenting plan that allows them to meet each child’s best interests given the family’s current circumstances. However, when parents cannot work together or the actions of one parent may make the child unsafe, a judge may have to intervene.

How Does a Judge Decide Whether to Grant Parental Responsibilities to Just One Parent? 

Judges try to avoid giving parental responsibilities and parenting time to only one parent unless there is an extreme circumstance that justifies that action. When deciding how to allocate parental responsibilities and parenting time, judges will consider many factors, including but not limited to: 

  • Each parent’s relationship with the child

  • Each parent’s ability to meet the child’s physical and emotional needs

  • Each parent’s physical and emotional health

  • The child’s preferences, if appropriate

  • Whether there is a history of abuse of any kind

  • The home circumstances of each parent

  • Whether one parent is missing, imprisoned, or deceased

Judges may give one parent exclusive parenting time and parental responsibilities. However, there are often combinations of one or the other that keep a child safe and still allow him or her to have a relationship with both parents. A parent may get visitation without decision-making authority, supervised visitation, visitation only when they are sober or do not have visitors in the home, etc. 

Meet with a DuPage County Child Custody Attorney 

The first step towards securing a parenting arrangement that meets your child’s needs is hiring a great DuPage County child custody attorney who has an implicit understanding of Illinois law. At The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C., we understand that your parenting plan describes some of the most important information that will be contained in your divorce decree. For help understanding your options and pursuing a smart divorce strategy, call us today at 630-462-9500 to schedule your initial consultation. 




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