970 McHenry Avenue, Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC

Call Today for Your FREE Consultation

Call Us800-338-3833 | 815-338-3838

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Why Illinois Uses ‘Allocation of Parental Responsibilities’ Instead of ‘Child Custody’

Posted on in Divorce

Why Illinois Uses ‘Allocation of Parental Responsibilities’ Instead of ‘Child Custody’In 2016, Illinois made major changes to its law regarding parents who have divorced or separated. The term “child custody” was replaced with “the allocation of parental responsibilities,” and “visitation” was replaced with “parenting time.” These were more than simply new names for legal terms. They represented a new approach to co-parenting that the state hoped would be better for children. This summer will mark the five-year anniversary of the bill that created these changes being signed into law – making it a good time to revisit what these terms mean and what they are trying to accomplish.

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Child custody is a common term in family law statutes across the country and in popular vernacular. In Illinois, the law at one time granted sole or joint custody of the children following a divorce or separation. Illinois changed its laws so it is assumed that both parents will share responsibility for the children, including:

  • Dividing parenting time in a way that is best for the children
  • Determining how the parents will raise the children
  • Defining what decision-making power each parent has and when they must get the other parent’s consent

The word “custody” is often associated with one parent having primary control over the children. Illinois changed the term to “the allocation of parental responsibilities” because it better describes how each parent has rights and responsibilities and an important role in continuing to raise the children. “Custody” is now used to describe when a non-parent assumes responsibility for a child.

Parenting Time

Using the term “parental visitation” would go against the idea of cooperative parenting that Illinois encourages. Visitation suggests that one parent is the primary parent and the children are only visiting when they spend time with the other parent. Illinois still prefers that the children spend the majority of their time with one parent because it is less disruptive for them. However, the state uses “parenting time” instead of “visitation” because the children should feel like each parent’s residence is their home and that neither parent is a guest in their lives.

Contact a McHenry County Divorce Attorney

During your divorce or separation, you have the opportunity to negotiate the allocation of parental responsibilities with your co-parent. However, the court may decide on the issue for you if you cannot reach an agreement or your parenting plan is not in the best interest of your children. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, divorce lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, will help you create a parenting plan that works best for your children. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.



Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
Back to Top