As you may already know, Illinois laws are frequently updated and modified. Some of the biggest changes to Illinois divorce and family law took place in 2016. The language used to describe child custody matters was just the start of the changes. Legislators also modernized the way courts handled child custody and divorce issues, prioritizing the involvement of both parents in a child’s life.
If you are getting divorced or are unmarred and share a child with an ex, you may have questions about how to get sole custody. How does sole custody work? Can a father get sole custody? Are mothers granted sole custody by default? These are complicated questions, and the answers vary case by case. The best way to get advice specific to your situation is to work with a skilled family law attorney. Read on to learn more about how Illinois law currently handles custody matters.
Sole Custody Versus Joint Custody in Illinois
In 2022, the terms “sole custody” and “joint custody” are only used informally. The law does not describe custody in these terms any longer. Instead, the law breaks down custody into two main components:
Parental responsibilities – Previously called legal custody, parental responsibilities are a parent’s decision-making authority. Parents may be granted shared decision-making authority on all child-related issues or they may split up decision-making between the parents. For example, one parent may have the final say on the child’s education while the other handles healthcare decisions. The court may award full parental responsibilities to one parent in certain situations. In this situation, the other parent may have the right to spend time with the child, but does not have the final say on the child’s education, medical care, religious upbringing, or other major child-related matters.
Parenting time – Parenting time, previously called visitation, is the time a child spends with each parent. Typically, the court wants to ensure that the child gets to spend time with each parent. However, the court may restrict parenting time in certain circumstances. For example, if a parent has a substance abuse problem, the court may assign a third party to supervise parenting time.
Illinois law does not make a distinction between mothers and fathers in family law issues. Men and women have the same rights when it comes to parental responsibilities and parenting time issues.
How Can I Get Full Parental Responsibilities or Parenting Time?
Parents can negotiate the division of parental responsibilities or parenting time on their own, without the court’s involvement. However, if the parents disagree about who should get the majority of the parenting time or parental responsibilities, the court will intervene. The court only awards all of the parenting time or parental responsibilities to one parent if doing so is in the child’s best interests. So, to get sole custody, you will need to demonstrate to the court that you getting full parental responsibilities and parenting time is the right choice for your child.
Contact a St. Charles Child Custody Lawyer
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