In 2016, Illinois updated the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) to better meet the needs of unmarried and divorced couples. The current law altered the language to represent modern parenting styles more accurately. Instead of one parent being the primary custodian and the other parent merely having visitation rights, the law now describes parenting duties as being shared between the parents. Parents who are getting divorced should be sure to understand the new law, as it differs somewhat from laws in surrounding states, both in terminology and function.
The allocation of parental responsibilities is an important part of the IMDMA. Generally speaking, the term parental responsibilities is used to describe important decision-making capabilities, which are divided into four general categories. Visitation is now called parenting time. Parenting time refers to the time that either parent spends caring for and supervising the child.
Parental Responsibilities in Illinois
Parental responsibilities refer to a parent’s authority to make child-related decisions. The four primary areas of significant decision-making described in Illinois law are:
- Religious upbringing
- Extracurricular activities
- Healthcare, including a child’s dental and psychological needs
Parents are encouraged to share in the allocation of parental responsibilities whenever possible. Sometimes this means making joint decisions in every area mentioned above, while other times it means each parent will handle certain decisions in important areas. Sometimes, one parent will have full decision-making responsibilities while the other parent only has parenting time. Compared to significant decision-making responsibilities, parenting time is considered time that the parent has responsibility for caretaking functions and nonsignificant decision-making for the child.
What Are a Parent’s Caretaking Functions?
Before getting divorced, most parents simply respond to the needs of their child and parent accordingly. After divorce, however, it is important to know that the law has certain expectations of parents in terms of what they are supposed to provide for their children. When a parent has parenting time, the caretaking functions include:
- Meeting the child’s nutritional needs
- Keeping the child physically safe
- Caring for the child when he or she is injured or sick
- Creating the child’s bedtime routine
- Meeting the child’s hygienic needs
- Providing discipline to the child
- Monitoring the child’s developmental needs
- Making sure the child goes to school
Contact a DuPage County, IL Parental Responsibilities Lawyer
Learning the ins and outs of family law during the divorce process can feel overwhelming, but the Wheaton, IL divorce attorneys with MKFM Law are here to help. Whether you have questions, need advice, or are unsure of what your expectations for the divorce process should be, you can get the assistance you need from our experienced attorneys. Call us today at 630-665-7300 to schedule a confidential consultation today.