Child Custody / Parental Allocation Lawyers - Joliet, IL

One of the most important issues facing any parent involved in a Divorce or Paternity Action is custody or parental allocation. The broad term of Parental Allocation includes who gets to make major decisions in the minor child’s life and the choice of which parent is to be the primary parent. Parents naturally want what is best for their children. If you are involved in a legal action where custody or parental allocation is at issue, it is important to be well-informed about the laws and how it could impact a family

The Attorneys at Henderson Law & Mediation are up to date on the most current changes to the law. 

 

Decision-Making

In Illinois what most states refer to as “custody” is called Parental Allocation. There are two main components of Parental Allocation. One is legal decision-making, which allocates who gets to make major decisions in the children’s lives in the areas of health, education, extra-curricular and religion. These decisions can be made together under joint-decision making (formerly joint custody) or one parent can make the decisions under sole-decision making (formerly sole custody). Each parent is permitted to make decisions in a situation affecting the child’s health and safety during that parent’s parenting time. Each parent is also able to make day-to-day decisions when their children are with them, including the child’s diet, attire, discipline, bed-time and other routine decisions. 

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides a number of factors which help the court decide whether sole decision-making or joint decision-making is appropriate.  

 

These factors include: 

(1) The wishes of the child taking into account the child’s maturity and ability to express reasoned and independent preferences as to decision-making;

(2) the child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;

(3) the mental and physical health of all individuals involved;

(4) the ability of the parents to cooperate to make decisions or the level of conflict between the parties that may affect their ability to share decision-making

(5) the level of each parent’s participation in past significant decision-making with  respect to the child;

(6) any prior agreement or course of conduct between the parents relating to decision-making with respect to the child;

(7) the wishes of the parents;

(8) the child’s needs;

(9) the distance between the parents’ residence, the cost and difficulty of transporting the child, each parent’s and the child’s daily schedules, and the ability of the parents to cooperate in the arrangement;

(10) whether a restriction on parenting time is appropriate;

(11) the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitated and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child;

(12) the physical violence or threat of physical violence by the child’s parent directed against the child;

(13) the occurrence of abuse against the child or other member of the child’s household;

Parenting Time

The other component of parental allocation (formerly custody) is who the children live with or who is the primary parent. 

Typically both parents are awarded Parenting Time unless someone presents a danger to the children. There are a variety of different schedules that can be established, including each parent having equal or shared time.

When determining what parenting time schedule is appropriate the court considers the following factors:

(1) the wishes of each parent seeking parenting time;

(2) The wishes of the child taking into account the child’s maturity and ability to express reasoned and independent preferences as to decision-making;

(3) the amount of time each parent spent performing caretaking functions with respect to the child in the 24 months preceding the filling of any petition for allocation of parental responsibilities or if the child is under 2 years of age since the child’s birth;

(4) any prior agreement or course of conduct between the parents relating to caretaking functions with respect to the child;

(5) the interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parents and siblings and with any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interests

(6) the child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;

(7) the mental and physical health of all individuals involved;

(8) the child’s needs;

(9) the distance between the parents’ residence, the cost and difficulty of transporting the child, each parent’s and the child’s daily schedules, and the ability of the parents to cooperate in the arrangement;

(10) whether a restriction on parenting time is appropriate;

(11) the physical violence or threat of physical violence by the child’s parent directed against the child or other member of the child’s household;

(12) the willingness and ability of each parent to place the needs of the child ahead of his or her own needs

(13) the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child;

(14) the occurrence of abuse against the child or other member of the child’s household;

(15) whether one of the parents is a convicted sex offender or lives with a convicted sex offender, and if so, the extract nature of the offense and what if any treatment the offender has successfully participated in;

(16) the terms of a parent’s military family-care plan that a parent must complete before deployment if a parent is a member of the United States Armed Forces who is being deployed

(17) any other factor that the court expressly finds to be relevant

Restriction on Parenting Time

Sometimes a parent may suffer from health, substance abuse or other problems that make them unable to adequately parent a child. In these cases the court has a variety of tools that can be used to provide that parent with parenting time from a suspension of parenting time, supervised parenting time, and counseling. 

Many of the cases at Henderson Law & Mediation involve parental allocation and parenting time. The attorneys at Henderson Law & Mediation represents clients in parental allocation, child custody, parenting time, visitation, modifications to parental allocation and parenting time, grandparent visitation rights, and more.

We recognize how vital these decisions are to you and your family. Our law office is well-equipped to negotiate a settlement on Parental Allocation and Parenting Time. If the other party does not agree or more serious issues are at stake, then our office is prepared to litigate to defend our client’s rights and interests.

HENDERSON LAW

 & Mediation Center

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