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Changes to Illinois Child Custody and Parenting Laws

Posted on in Illinois Family Law

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody lawyer,A previous post discussed a number of changes made to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), all of which took effect as of January 1, 2016. When the overhaul of the IMDMA was signed into law, it contained numerous alterations to parenting during and after divorce. It is also necessary to understand some general changes to parenting laws in Illinois and the ways in which they will impact Muslim families in DuPage County.

Child Custody and the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

One of the first major shifts to the IMDMA with regard to parenting is a basic name change concerning child custody. While changing the title for a specific area of the law might not at first appear to be a significant alteration, it suggests a shift in the way Illinois courts will approach issues of child custody. What is that name change? The large section of the IMDMA that concerns child custody has been renamed “Allocation of Parental Responsibility.”

With this name change, the drafters of the new laws not only eradicated the language of “child custody” from this chapter of the statute, but they also changed a number of other terms that many Illinoisans have come to understand as standard aspects of divorce and child custody. The following are the terms that have been eradicated from the IMDMA’s chapter on custody:

  • Child custody;
  • Visitation;
  • Custody orders;
  • Visitation agreements; and
  • Parenting agreements.

If these terms have been removed, does it mean the courts will no longer determine issues of child custody and visitation? Courts in DuPage County will continue to make these kinds of determinations that are central to parenting after divorce, but they will use different language to discuss these decisions. What are those new terms?

  • Allocation judgments;
  • Parenting time; and
  • Parenting plans.

Recasting Illinois Custody and Parenting Laws in a Better Light

Why is our state interested in changing the ways we think about custody and parenting laws? In short, as an article from the Illinois State Bar Association suggests, the changes to custody and parenting are largely shifts in terminology. Yet we should not discount the importance of terminology. The previous term of “child custody” does not always intimate a warm and personable relationship between the parent and child. Rather, it casts the parents as mere parties to an agreement over a mutual child.

And when it comes to terms of visitation, we might all readily imagine that no parent wants to consider her relationship with her child merely as one of “visitation.” Instead, discussing issues of visitation in terms of “parenting time” and “parenting plans” suggests a closer relationship between parent and child, and gets at the need for active and careful parenting roles regardless of the amount of time spent with the child each week or month.

Parenting issues can be complicated in Muslim families, and the dedicated attorneys at Farooqi & Husain Law Office have been assisting the community for years. While the overhaul of the IMDMA will bring significant changes to the way divorce law works, we are paying close attention to the specific needs of members of the Muslim community. If you have questions about the new custody laws, a skilled Oak Brook family lawyer can assist you. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.


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