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IL divorce lawyerGoing through a divorce in DuPage County can create complications in many different areas of a person’s life, from financial matters and employment schedules to estate planning. While estate planning might not be the first thing on your mind when you are in the middle of a divorce, it is essential to think carefully about estate planning—and to make any necessary changes—in conjunction with your divorce.

At the Farooqi & Husain Law Office, we routinely serve members of the Muslim community in a variety of divorce matters, and we can assist you with questions concerning divorce and estate planning in DuPage County. One of the Oakbrook Terrace divorce lawyers at our firm can speak with you today.

1. You Should Revisit Your Will

When you are planning for a divorce, you should understand how Illinois divorce law works. At the same time, you should be speaking with your divorce lawyer about revising the terms of your will and how you might make changes according to the Illinois Probate Act. Most parties will leave property to their spouses in a will, and most of those parties will want to make changes after a divorce. If you do not change your will, a divorce will not result in any automatic changes. You need to make those amendments or revisions with your lawyer’s help.

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IL divorce lawyerSocial stigma has surrounded divorce for quite some time in many communities, especially earlier in the 20th century. Yet as divorce becomes normalized and more common, communities throughout DuPage County and across the country are beginning to recognize that stigma associated with divorce and divorced families can do more harm than good. Divorce has even become less stigmatized within Muslim immigrant communities as more people recognize that divorce can be the best option to lead a happy and meaningful life. We want to say more about changing attitudes toward divorce and how those shifting attitudes can benefit the DuPage County Muslim community.

In the meantime, if you have questions or concerns about divorce, an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney at Farooqi & Husain Law Office can discuss your options with you. We have years of experience serving Muslim families in the area and can speak with you about your case.

More Divorces Are Taking Place

Generally speaking, more people are getting divorced than they were even a couple of decades ago. In other words, divorce is becoming more common, which in turn leads to less stigma in general for divorced families. The rate of divorce in the U.S. has almost doubled since 1960. That data comes from the Rutgers University National Marriage Project. In total, about 50 percent of marriages today are likely to end in divorce. And the divorce rate has also risen in the Muslim community.

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IL divorce lawyerDivorce for Muslims in DuPage County can be extremely complicated, especially when there are questions about how Islamic law will apply to the divorce proceeding and the steps that must be taken to obtain an Islamic divorce certificate in addition to a civil divorce decree. One issue that is not especially common but can arise in a Muslim divorce is this: the spouses have minor children from the marriage, and one of the parents is less religious than the other and wants to move away from raising the children in a religious environment. In other words, one of the parents wants to move away from educating the children according to the beliefs and practices of Islam, but the other parent vehemently disagrees. If you are the other parent—the parent who believes in a strong religious upbringing for your children—you are likely concerned and want to know: Can I continue to raise my children according to the teachings of Islam after the divorce?

At Farooqi & Husain Law Office, we know how complicated questions about childrearing can be after a divorce, especially when those matters get at the fundamental religious beliefs of the parties. An experienced Oakbrook Terrace divorce lawyer can help.

Religious Upbringing Under Illinois Law

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) governs the allocation of parental responsibilities, including a parent’s ability to make decisions about the child’s religious upbringing.

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IL divorce lawyerDivorce is complicated and difficult for any family going through this process. Indeed, whether you have only been married for a short time and have no children from the marriage, or have been married for years and still have minor children together, divorce in DuPage County is never easy emotionally or financially. Yet Muslims in DuPage County who are thinking about Islamic divorce may need to consider additional complications. Divorces involving Shariah, or Islamic law, can make the process more complex, especially when the spouses were married outside the U.S. and are now seeking a divorce within the country. Approximately one out of every three Muslim marriages in America result in divorce. This number is lower than the national U.S. average, but it is still a sufficiently high percentage that necessitates additional thinking about Muslim divorces in America.

In the meantime, if you have questions about filing for divorce or how to handle complications for Muslims, an experienced DuPage County divorce lawyer at Farooqi & Husain Law Office can help you. We have years of experience serving the DuPage County Muslim community with a wide variety of family law matters.

Having a Marriage Dissolved in Accordance with Islamic Law

For many Muslims in DuPage County and throughout the greater Chicago area, religion plays an important role, even if it is just a cultural role in the community. For example, weddings, funerals, and divorces are occasions for which Muslims want to abide by Islamic law, and, accordingly, if they want to get divorced, they will want to dissolve that marriage Islamically. For most Muslims in Oakbrook Terrace, this usually means getting a civil divorce decree that they can take to their imam in order to get an Islamic divorce certificate. But getting an Islamic divorce also typically means having dowries and other provisions of marriage contracts enforced. Since many Islamic marriages include a marriage contract with a dowry and other terms, the parties want to be sure that this is enforced upon divorce.

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IL custody lawyerImagine that, in the new year, your employer informs you that you will need to relocate for your job. You may be excited about the opportunity for a promotion, but you may also be worried about child custody and how your relocation will affect your parenting time responsibilities. The answer depends on a number of different factors, including where your boss wants you to relocate and how far it is from your current location. If you have questions about child custody and relocating for a new job, you should seek advice from an experienced DuPage County child custody attorney. In the meantime, here is some additional information that may be able to help you understand how a move can impact child custody.

Do You Already Have a Parenting Plan or Allocation Judgment?

The first question you will want to think about is whether your divorce is finalized and a parenting plan or allocating judgment already exists. If you are only at the early stages of a divorce or child custody case, the court can take into account a planned relocation as it considers what is in the best interests of the child. In other words, you will not need to make any modifications if parental responsibilities—including parenting time—have not yet been allocated.

However, if you are planning to move quite a distance from your current residence, it is essential to have a DuPage County family lawyer on your side to ensure that you are able to share in significant decision-making responsibilities and parenting time regardless of your physical location.

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IL divorce lawyerIf you are involved in a contentious child custody battle, or if your ex is threatening to ask the court to modify a parenting plan or allocation judgment in order to restrict your parenting time, you are likely very concerned about whether this is a possibility. There are many different reasons that one parent might like to restrict the parenting time of the other parent. Sometimes a desire to restrict parenting time arises out of very legitimate concerns about the child’s safety or well-being.

At other times, a parent might try to restrict parenting time simply because she or he does not like the other parent’s approach to caretaking or does not approve of the parent’s lifestyle choices. It is important to know that, if your ex is threatening to restrict parenting time, such restrictions only occur in limited circumstances under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA).

If your ex is threatening to attempt to restrict parenting time, you should get in touch with one of our Oakbrook Terrace child custody lawyers as soon as possible. In the meantime, we want to provide you with more information about parenting time restrictions and why they happen under Illinois law.

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IL divorce lawyerWhen you are preparing for a divorce in DuPage County and are anticipating that you will either be paying alimony (also known as spousal maintenance) or receiving it, it is important to understand how these types of payments work under Illinois law. Generally speaking, in order for one spouse to be eligible to receive support, that spouse has to request support. Then, the next step involves the court looking at a number of different factors to determine whether spousal maintenance is appropriate in the given case. The court must make this determination before it ever considers how maintenance will be paid, for long the payments will last, and how much will get paid. If the court decides spousal maintenance is not appropriate, it never even considers how and when alimony will be paid.

If a court does decide alimony is appropriate, then the court’s next steps are to determine the amount and duration of the alimony award. For most DuPage County residents, the court will use guidelines with formulas to make those determinations. Only once the court has decided the amount and duration of the alimony award will it reach the issue of how it actually gets paid and with what frequency. The frequency of alimony payments can be an important one, both for the spouse making the payments and the spouse receiving the payments. Our DuPage County divorce lawyers want to provide you with more information about lump sum payments.

What Is a Lump Sum Payment for Spousal Maintenance in Illinois?

Spousal support awards typically are paid monthly over a particular duration. For example, if a court determines that Spouse A should pay Spouse B an amount of $2,000 per month for 48 months, then that amount usually would get paid monthly, for a total of $96,000 once the total alimony award is paid out in full.

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IL divorce lawyerIf you are having difficulties in your marriage, you might be considering divorce. At the same time, there are many reasons that you may be thinking about potential alternatives to divorce. To be sure, we work with many Muslim families in DuPage County who want to avoid divorce for religious and cultural reasons. For those families, a legal separation can provide some of the same benefits of divorce without the religious and cultural implications. There are also many financial reasons that legal separation may be preferable to getting divorced. To be clear, a legal separation does not legally end the marriage, but it allows the parties to have some of the benefits that come with a divorce. A divorce, differently, results in a legal end to the marriage.

When you have questions about legal separation versus divorce, you should get in touch with a DuPage County family law attorney who can help with your situation.

What Is a Legal Separation?

Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), two people who are married can opt for a legal separation instead of a divorce. Not all states have laws for legal separation, but Illinois is a state that does allow for legal separation. The IMDMA clarifies that “any person living separate and apart from his or her spouse may have a remedy for reasonable support and maintenance while they so live apart.” Under the statute (750 ILCS 5/402), the court is also permitted to enter a judgment for legal separation, which can include a property settlement agreement between the parties that the court approves and enters as part of the judgment.

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IL divorce lawyerAfter a divorce in DuPage County involving minor children, it can be difficult for the parents to adjust to co-parenting. This is particularly true when the parents had a very contentious divorce case or when the parents simply are struggling to get along. However, most parents in the Oakbrook Terrace area will end up sharing parenting time in some capacity. To be sure, under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), Illinois courts presume that “both parents are fit” for parenting time, and typically the court will only restrict parenting time when there is a history of violence with one of the parents. Indeed, the court will only restrict parenting time if “it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that a parent’s exercise of parenting time would seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral, or emotional health.”

Given that restrictions on parenting time do not occur with most families in a divorce case, it is likely that parents will share parenting time, even if it is not a 50-50 split. This means that the parents will need to think carefully about co-parenting and how to communicate about their children even if they experienced a particularly contentious divorce. Believe it or not, technology—and online communication tools specifically—can help to make co-parenting easier. Some co-parenting apps may be able to help you transition into post-divorce life and co-parenting with your ex-spouse. We want to discuss some of those online tools and apps with you.

What Can Online Communication Tools Help Parents to Do?

There are a number of benefits to using online communication tools for co-parenting purposes. Rather than communicating in person or over the phone, online communication tools can make it easier for parents to share information about their children, and those tools can make those communications more convenient for both parents. In addition, when parents use online communications tools and apps, studies suggest that parents tend to communicate more frequently about their kids, and the quality of their communications actually improves.

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IL divorce lawyerIf you are thinking about filing for divorce in Oakbrook Terrace, or if you know that your spouse has plans to file for divorce, you are probably already thinking about the complications of property division. While the distribution of marital property will vary in complexity from case to case depending upon the amount and type of assets and debts involved, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) requires that Illinois courts divide all marital property according to the theory of equitable distribution.

Although the court will determine who marital property is divided until the parties can negotiate a property division agreement or property settlement, it may still be possible for one of the parties to make clear that she or he wants to retain particular property for which she or he is willing to give up other property. In a lot of cases, one of the parties wants to keep the marital home.

Why Would One of the Parties Want to Stay in the Marital Home After a Divorce?

There are a variety of reasons that someone may want to stay in the home after the divorce, from a sentimental attachment to the property to issues like raising your child and wanting to keep kids in the same school district.

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IL custody lawyerIf you are considering divorce in DuPage County and have minor children from your marriage, or if you are a family caregiver to minor children, we know that you likely have questions about child custody. The child custody process, now known as the allocation of parental responsibilities under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), can be extremely complicated. We routinely assist parents in the DuPage County Muslim community who have concerns or inquiries about how courts make child custody decisions when courts allocate parental responsibilities, and how the proceedings even begin.

While a divorce can be an event that initiates a proceeding for the allocation of parental responsibilities (meaning that the court will need to allocate parental responsibilities, including significant decision-making responsibilities and parenting time based on what is in the best interests of the child), there are other ways in which this process can get initiated. The dedicated DuPage County child custody lawyers at our firm want to provide you with more information.

How Courts Begin the Process of Allocating Parental Responsibilities

Many people assume that child custody proceedings, or the process in which the court allocates parental responsibilities, can only be initiated in a divorce case. While divorce is one of the ways to get this process started, the IMDMA also provides for numerous others. The following are situations and parties that can initiate the process:

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IL divorce attorneyWhen you are in the process of getting divorced in Oakbrook Terrace or elsewhere in DuPage County, it is important to understand how the process of property division works and when the spouses can play a role in determining how property gets divided. As you may know, Illinois courts divide marital property based on a theory of equitable distribution. This means that property is divided in a way that the court determines to be fair and equitable to both parties. In deciding what is fair and equitable, the court takes into account many different factors that are listed in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). Of course, when there is an enforceable premarital agreement or postnuptial agreement that specifies how property will be distributed, courts will use the terms in those agreements.

Yet many spouses have questions about “property settlements,” and whether they are able to play a role in deciding how their property gets divided even if there is no premarital or postnuptial agreement. In other words, can the parties work out a system for dividing marital property without the court doing it for them? In short, the answer is yes. The IMDMA has a specific section on “agreement” between the parties, and we want to be clear about how it can allow for a property division agreement. In the meantime, an experienced Oakbrook Terrace divorce lawyer at our firm can help with any questions you have.

Coming to an Agreement About Property Under the IMDMA

If you and your spouse want to negotiate a property settlement, the IMDMA allows you to do so. Whenever you are negotiating about the division of marital property, it is important to have an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney to advocate for your rights and needs. In the agreement, the parties are permitted to create provisions for the disposition of any and all marital property. However, there are some requirements and limitations under the IMDMA:

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IL divorce lawyerSpousal maintenance, also known as spousal support or alimony, is not awarded in every divorce case. However, there are numerous divorces in the Oakbrook Terrace area in which one of the spouses will be awarded spousal maintenance. We often work with clients in the DuPage County Muslim community who have questions about spousal support and how it works. The following are five things to know about spousal maintenance in DuPage County. If you have additional questions or concerns, an experienced Oakbrook Terrace divorce lawyer at Farooqi & Husain Law Office can assist you.

1. The Spouse Who Wants Maintenance Must Request It

In a divorce case, courts do not automatically consider whether one spouse should be receiving maintenance and whether the other spouse should be responsible for paying it. Rather, under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), the spouse who wants to obtain spousal maintenance must first request it. To ensure that the court considers awarding spousal maintenance, the party seeking it should work with an experienced DuPage County divorce lawyer.

2. Court Decides Whether Maintenance Is Appropriate Before Considering Amount or Duration

When one of the spouses in a divorce case seeks spousal maintenance, the court goes through a series of steps in the process of awarding maintenance or support. The IMDMA requires that the court first consider whether maintenance is even appropriate before it makes any considerations about the amount and duration of the award. The IMDMA outlines a wide variety of factors that the court may consider in deciding whether support is appropriate in a particular divorce case.

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IL custody lawyerIf you are considering divorce in DuPage County and you have minor children from your marriage, you will need to learn more about child custody laws in Illinois. For most members of the Muslim community in DuPage County, the months before and during your divorce will be the first time that you learn about child custody or the allocation of parental responsibilities. To help prepare you for your child custody case, our DuPage County child custody attorneys have a list of important child custody facts that you will likely want to consider as you move forward with your divorce.

1. Illinois Law Now Discusses Child Custody in Terms of “Parental Responsibilities”

Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), you will no longer find any reference to child custody awards, or to physical custody and legal custody. Instead, Illinois law now discusses child custody in terms of “parental responsibilities.” Rather than awarding child custody in sole or joint terms to parents, courts now allocate parental responsibilities, with flexibility for different types of family situations.

2. Parental Responsibilities Include Significant Decision-Making Responsibilities and Parenting Time

Parental responsibilities now include significant decision-making responsibilities (similar to legal custody) and parenting time (similar to physical custody and visitation). Parents can share these responsibilities in a variety of ways based on what is in the best interests of the child.

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IL divorce feeWhen most people think about seeking attorney’s fees in a court case, they are often thinking about civil cases in which they are suing another party for damages. However, attorney’s fees also may be available in DuPage County divorce cases. To be clear, attorney’s fees are not awarded in a divorce case because one of the parties “wins” the case, but rather based on one party’s ability to pay and the other party’s inability to pay. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) governs the issue of attorney’s fees in divorces, and we want to provide you with more information about this topic.

In the meantime, if you need assistance with your divorce, one of the dedicated DuPage County divorce attorneys at Farooqi & Husain Law Office can speak with you today. We regularly provide counsel to members of the DuPage County Muslim community and can discuss your options for moving forward with your divorce.

Interim Attorney’s Fees in a DuPage County Divorce

When one party is seeking interim attorney’s fees in a divorce case in Illinois, that party must file a petition for interim attorney’s fees and costs. In order to be eligible to receive interim attorney’s fees—which means attorney’s fees while the divorce is ongoing—the party seeking the fees must be able to show that relevant factors exist for awarding attorney’s fees. The IMDMA says that the court shall consider all relevant factors. It cites the following, among others:

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IL divorce lawyerMany spouses who make the decision to get divorced have minor children from the marriage. When there are minor children from the marriage, parental responsibilities will need to be allocated. There are essentially two different ways of allocating parental responsibilities under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA): either through a parenting plan developed by the parents or through the court’s allocation judgment. In both scenarios, the wishes of the child, or the child’s preference, can be taken into account but typically will not be the sole deciding factor in how parental responsibilities are allocated. Keep in mind that parental responsibilities include both significant decision-making responsibilities and parenting time. We will say more about how a child’s preference can come into play for both types of parental responsibilities.

Allocating Significant Decision-Making Responsibilities and Considering the Child’s Preference

Under the IMDMA, significant decision-making responsibilities are one of two forms of parental responsibilities, previously known in Illinois as child custody. Significant decision-making responsibilities are most similar to what we previously knew as legal custody or the parent’s responsibility for making significant decisions about the child’s upbringing. Generally speaking, significant decision-making responsibilities typically include decisions about the child’s education (including where the child goes to school and who tutors the child), health care issues (including the types of medical, dental, and psychological treatments a child receives, as well as the providers the child sees), and religion (including what the child’s religious upbringing is and where the child receives religious training, education, and community).

Does the child get to have a say in how significant decision-making responsibilities are allocated? The answer to that question depends upon the specific facts of the case, but the IMDMA does allow the child’s wishes to be one consideration. Under the IMDMA, significant decision-making responsibilities are allocated according to what is in the best interests of the child. Whether the parents allocate these responsibilities in a parenting plan or the court does so in an allocation judgment, the “child’s best interests” must be what governs the allocation. In considering the child’s best interests, the IMDMA says that “all relevant factors” should be considered, including:

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IL custody lawyerWhen a married couple is considering divorce and has minor children from the marriage, deciding how the parents will share significant decision-making responsibilities for the child can be extremely complicated and contentious. As many parents in DuPage County likely know, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) no longer uses the term “child custody” or “visitation,” but instead uses the term “parental responsibilities,” which includes both important decision-making responsibilities for the child in addition to parenting time.

When parents can agree to terms, they can develop a parenting plan to allocate parental responsibilities. When parents cannot agree, the court issues an allocation judgment that details how parents will share parental responsibilities based on what is in the best interests of the child. The child’s religious upbringing is one of the major issues involved in significant decision-making responsibilities. We want to say more about how the allocation of parental responsibilities involves a child’s religious upbringing, and to encourage you to get in touch with an Oakbrook Terrace family law attorney if you have additional questions.

How Does Illinois Law Define a Child’s Religious Upbringing?

Under the IMDMA, “religious upbringing” is defined as the choice of religion or participation in religious customs or practices, among others.

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IL divorce lawyerIf you are considering divorce in DuPage County, it is important to understand how property division works under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), and to understand how property can become commingled. When property is commingled, it can be difficult to classify, and the court ultimately may need to classify it as marital property that is divisible even if it has some traces of separate or non-marital property. We will say more about property division in order to explain the complications of commingled property. If you have questions, a DuPage County divorce attorney can assist you.

Classifying Marital and Non-Marital (or Separate) Property

The first step in dividing marital property in a DuPage County divorce is for the court to classify all property as marital or nonmarital (or separate) property. Generally speaking, all property acquired prior to the date of the marriage will be classified as separate property and will not be subject to division, while most property acquired after the date of marriage will be classified as marital property and will be subject to division. However, there are some exceptions to the classification of marital property. For example, even though the following types of property may have been acquired after the date of marriage, the court likely will classify these types of property as separate property and will not divide them:

  • Inheritances to only one of the spouses
  • Gifts made to only one of the spouses
  • Property acquired through the use of separate property
  • Property specifically designated as separate property in a premarital agreement

Property Division in Illinois and the Theory of Equitable Distribution

When two married people in Illinois get divorced, the court will divide all marital property according to a theory of equitable distribution. This might include, for example:

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IL family lawyerNo parent in DuPage County wants to face a situation in which they cannot afford to make their regular child support payments. However, there are numerous situations that can arise to make it difficult or even impossible for a parent to contribute his or her portion of the child support obligation. For example, if a parent gets hurt and cannot work, that parent may be hospitalized for a month or longer, preventing that parent from earning money and contributing to the support of the child. Or, a parent might lose his or her job. If you lose your job, can you have your child support obligation modified?

In short, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) allows parents to modify child support in some circumstances, but it is important to understand how child support can be modified and what limitations might exist. If you need to modify child support, you should reach out to a DuPage County child support attorney as soon as you can.

Are You Eligible to Modify Child Support?

In order to modify child support, in most circumstances, one of the following must be true:

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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.”

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