Child Custody (Allocation Of Significant Decision-Making Responsibilities)

What used to commonly be referred to throughout Illinois as "child custody" or "custody rights" is now better understood by the legal system as parental responsibility, or parenting time and the allocation of parental responsibility. The concepts of joint and sole physical and legal custody are now a thing of the past, though many couples still think in those terms.

Parental responsibility regarding child rearing decision-making now covers four major areas. At the Law Offices of Dwayne Douglas, P.C., I have represented parents in Lake County since 1991 as they try to navigate family law issues, particularly those relating to significant decision-making responsibilities surrounding their children.

Determining Parental Decision-Making Power

As mentioned, Illinois law now recognizes four significant decision-making areas that parents and courts need to address:

  • Education: Deciding which school your child may attend or which tutors your child may visit.
  • Health: Parents should discuss the major medical, dental and even psychological treatment needs of their child.
  • Religion: Parents should go over, whether expressly or not, their child's religious upbringing, including what religion the child may be guided to follow and what church to attend.
  • Extracurricular activities: Parents often disagree on extracurricular activities, or see them as too invasive to the child's upbringing (for example, if each parent enrolls the child in multiple after-school programs, conflict may arise).

Determining A Working Parenting Plan

Parents in Illinois are encouraged to find a suitable parenting time plan that works in the best interests of the child. If this cannot be agreed upon, the courts will make the decision, by weighing several factors, including both the child's and parents' wishes, as well as the domestic situation and any prior arrangements. As parenting time is a big issue for many parents, when parents cannot arrive at an agreement, court proceedings to establish parenting time can be highly contested matters.

In these instances, an experienced lawyer can help you avoid any future difficulty. Determining decision-making power and a parenting plan without the aid of counsel can potentially lead to long-term conflicts that can end up hampering your child's upbringing.

An Experienced Attorney Is Just A Phone Call Away

I have more than 25 years of experience in the courtroom, and I work every day to resolve family matters successfully with a wide range of client concerns. Contact me today for an initial consultation. Call my Lake Bluff office at 847-230-4809 to speak with a knowledgeable lawyer. I represent clients throughout Lake County, including Libertyville.