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What Is the Difference Between Parenting Time and Parental Responsibilities?

 Posted on June 17, 2019 in Child Custody

IL family lawyerIf you are considering divorce or currently are in the process of getting divorced and have minor children from your marriage, we know that you probably have many questions about child custody in DuPage County. If you have spoken with a family law attorney, or if you have a family member or friend who recently got divorced, you likely know that Illinois does not use the term “child custody” any longer. Courts do not award legal custody or physical custody when parents get divorced, and accordingly Illinois law no longer use the term “visitation.” Instead, you may know that courts in the state now use terms that include “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time” to refer to who makes legal decisions about the child’s upbringing and the amount of time that a parent physically spends with the child.

Yet these new terms can get confusing. We often work with clients who want to know: what is the difference between parental responsibilities and parenting time? In short, parenting time is part of the overarching “parental responsibilities,” but we will explain more about how each of these terms is defined and used under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). If you need help with your case, a DuPage County child custody lawyer can speak with you today.

Defining Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time Under the IMDMA

The term “parental responsibilities” is the overarching language that is now used in Illinois instead of “child custody.” The statute defines parental responsibilities as parenting time and significant decision-making responsibilities. As you can see, the term parental responsibilities is the more general, overarching term under which specific parental responsibilities are housed. Parenting time is defined as one form of parental responsibility, while significant decision-making responsibilities is the other form of parental responsibility. In effect, the term “parenting time” replaces the terms “physical custody” and “visitation,” while the term “significant decision-making responsibilities” replaces the term “legal custody.”

How, specifically, does the statute now define “parenting time”? Under the IMDMA, parenting time is defined as the time in which a parent is responsible for caretaking functions and non-significant decision-making responsibilities regarding the child. Part of caretaking functions usually includes making non-significant decisions about the child’s well-being on a day-to-day basis.

Rather than award child custody, a judge in Illinois now will allocate parental responsibilities. This means allocating both parenting time, as well as significant decision-making responsibilities.

Elements of Parenting Time

Parenting time, as one part of parental responsibilities under Illinois law, involves providing caretaking functions for the child and making non-significant decisions for or about the child. Examples of caretaking functions, which are part of parenting time, include but are not limited to:

  • Feeding the child
  • Ensuring that the child goes to bed and wakes up for school
  • Ensuring that the child bathes and grooms
  • Supervising the child’s homework
  • Supervising the child’s chores
  • Making sure the child attends school
  • Making sure the child attends medical appointments
  • Providing moral and ethical guidance for the child
  • Arranging for a babysitter

Contact a Child Custody Lawyer in DuPage County

If you have questions about child custody or the allocation of parental responsibilities, an experienced Oakbrook Terrace child custody attorney can assist you. The advocates at Farooqi & Husain Law Office are committed to providing compassionate and dedicated services to members of the DuPage County Muslim community, and we can get started on your case today. Contact Farooqi & Husain Law Office online or call us at 630-909-9114 for more information.



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