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Dealing With Child Custody and Visitation in a Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

Illinois child custody and visitation, Crystal Lake Family Law AttorneyThe divorce of a couple who has children often means that tough decisions have to be made as to how the children will be cared for after the divorce. Apart from financial matters, where the children live and with which parent are important concerns that may arise. Some parents may be able to make the decision themselves and have an agreement accepted as part of the divorce; for other parents, however, the decision may have to be made by the judge presiding over the divorce.

In Illinois, the question of custody is now dealt with as allocating of parental responsibility. Under the newly revised Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, where a child lives, which parent makes decisions regarding the child, and how much time a child spends with a parent are all issues dealt with when a court allocates parental responsibility. One or both parents can be allocated significant decision making responsibilities of the child—making medical decisions, religious decisions, or what activities in which a child will engages.

When allocating significant decision making responsibilities, the judge has to consider the best interests of the child. This is a legal determination and the law provides various factors that a judge may consider in making this decision. Some of these factors include the wishes of the child—if the child is old enough, how well the parents cooperate in the raising of the child and in facilitating each other's relationship with the child, and how hostile the parents are to each other. One factor that is not to be considered when allocating significant decision making responsibilities is a parent's actions that do not affect the parent's relationship with the child.

In determining how to allocate parenting time, the judge has to once again consider the child's best interests. Parenting time is defined as the time during which a parent is responsible for exercising care-taking functions and non-significant decision making responsibilities regarding the child. The judge is supposed to consider both parents to be fit parents worthy of unrestricted parenting time, unless giving a parent unrestricted parenting time would endanger a child's physical, mental, moral, or emotional health.

A judge may also decide whether to allow the parents right of first refusal when it comes to child care during the other parent's parenting time. Therefore, if the other parent needs child care during his or her parenting time, he or she has to first contact the other parent to see if the other parent would like to take the child before finding other child care.

Let Us Assist You

If you are contemplating or going through a divorce and would like to find out how to handle issues of parental responsibilities regarding your children, contact the compassionate and experienced Crystal Lake family law attorneys at our firm for a consultation. We are eager to help.




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