Ending a marriage when there are children involved is complicated emotionally and legally. To make the divorce process even more complicated, divorce laws and terminology describing child custody and divorce frequently change.
Illinois no longer uses the term “sole custody” in official proceedings. Instead, parents will have “parental responsibilities” or decision-making authority over a child. The term “visitation” is also outdated. Instead, parents enjoy “parenting time” with their children.
If you are questioning whether you will have most or all of the parenting time and parental responsibilities after your divorce, you are not alone. This is a common concern among divorcing parents. This blog will explain how custody arrangements are determined during an Illinois divorce.
Agreed-Upon Parenting Plan Versus Court Intervention
Sometimes, divorcing parents can discuss their wishes regarding parenting time and parental responsibilities and reach an agreement without the court’s involvement. If you want to assume most or all of the parenting time and parental responsibilities and your spouse agrees to this, you will draft a parenting plan describing the arrangement and submit it to the court for approval.
If you and the other parent disagree about what is best for your children, the court may require you to attend mediation. During mediation, you will work with a third party who facilitates conversation and helps you negotiate the terms of your parenting plan.
If you cannot reach an agreement on the parenting plan during mediation, the court may decide on the disputed issues for you. All Illinois courts use a list of “best interest factors” to determine what is in a child’s best interests during a custody dispute.
These include factors such as:
The child’s wishes
The parents’ wishes
The child’s adjustment to his or her current home, school, and neighborhood
Each parent’s health status
Any instances of abuse or neglect
The distance between the parents’ homes and how difficult it is to transport the child between the homes
Each parent’s willingness to enable a good relationship between the child and the other parent
Whether either parent is a registered sex offender
The courts typically want to see both parents involved in a child’s life. It is rare for one parent to have sole parental responsibilities and all of the parenting time, however it does happen. For example, if one parent is incarcerated, addicted to drugs, or deals with physical or mental health conditions that make it impossible to care for children, his or her parenting time or parental responsibilities may be limited.
Contact our Naperville Child Custody Lawyer
If you are getting divorced and you have children, reach out to our skilled DuPage County divorce attorneys. We will explain all of your rights and options and represent you during your divorce. Call [[title]] at [[phone]] and set up a free consultation.