Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C.

Joliet Office


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Joliet Child Custody Attorney

Child Custody and Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Family Law Attorney For Allocation of Parental Responsibilities in Will County and Grundy County

Since 2016, Illinois divorce laws no longer use the terms physical custody or legal custody. Instead, parental responsibilities are divided into two categories: parenting time and significant decision-making responsibilities.

Under Illinois law, the parent who has physical care of a child on any given day is responsible for all caretaking functions. This includes providing for the child's physical needs, providing moral guidance and discipline, and making sure the child attends school, medical appointments, and scheduled extracurricular activities. During their parenting time, that parent has sole responsibility for making routine or non-significant decisions with respect to the child, such as what they eat and wear that day, and for making emergency health and safety decisions.

Significant decision-making means deciding issues that have long-term importance in the life of a child. Illinois law defines four significant issues: education, health, religion, and extracurricular activities. The parenting plan must allocate decision-making authority on each issue to one parent or both parents. In the case of shared decision-making, the parenting plan should include a mediation provision for resolving disagreements.

At the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C., we understand that parents can have very different views on education, religion, and other significant matters. Some of those differences may have even played a role in your divorce.

If you feel strongly that you should have sole authority to make decisions for your child in any of the four significant areas, we will strongly advocate for your point of view during the negotiation of your parenting plan. If necessary, we can ask the court to appoint a guardian ad litem or employ a child psychology professional to interview all involved parties and make recommendations. Our dedicated family law attorneys have more than 100 years of combined experience in resolving even the most contentious parenting issues.

How Illinois Defines Significant Decision-Making Responsibilities

Illinois law encourages parents to make their own agreements regarding who makes which decisions. If the parents cannot agree, the court will allocate decision-making responsibilities according to the child's best interests. The parent with primary physical care of the child may hold all significant decision-making authority, or the parents may share all or some types of decisions.

The four categories of significant decision-making responsibilities are defined as follows:

  • Education includes the choice of schools and tutors.
  • Health includes all decisions related to medical, dental, and psychological treatment.
  • Religious upbringing includes the choice of religion, religious education classes, church attendance, and participation in religious customs or practices.
  • Extracurricular activity includes the choice of activities intended to enhance the educational, athletic, social, or cultural development of the child.

The law requires the court to consider more than a dozen different factors in the allocation of decision-making responsibilities, including:

  • The ability of the parents to cooperate in decision-making, or the level of conflict that may affect their ability to share decision-making.
  • The parents' prior course of conduct, that is, the extent to which each parent participated in past decisions of this sort.
  • The mental and physical health of all parties.
  • The wishes of the child and of the parents.
  • The distance between the parents' residences, the cost and difficulty of transporting the child, each party's daily schedule, and the ability of the parents to cooperate in the arrangement.

Lawyer Assisting Morris and Yorkville Parents with Allocation of Decision-Making Responsibilities

For a confidential consultation about your divorce and any issues related to your parenting plan, contact the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. at 815-666-1285. From our two convenient offices in Joliet and Plainfield, Illinois, we serve clients in Will County, Grundy County, Kendall County, Yorkville, Morris, and surrounding areas.

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