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IL family lawyerIf you are going to file for divorce and you have minor children from your marriage, or if you are in the early stages of a DuPage County divorce case that will involve child custody, it is important to understand how Illinois law defines child custody and how courts in the state handle child custody cases. As you might already know, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) governs child custody or the allocation of parental responsibilities. Rather than awarding child custody to one or both parents, Illinois courts allocate parental responsibilities, which include significant decision-making responsibilities and parenting time. Significant decision-making responsibilities are somewhat akin to what courts used to describe as legal custody, while parenting time is somewhat akin to what courts used to describe as physical custody and visitation.

Within the allocation of parental responsibilities, you might learn about something known as “caretaking functions.” What are caretaking functions in child custody in Illinois? In short, caretaking functions are the responsibilities that parents have for their children when they have parenting time. Our experienced DuPage County child custody lawyers want to provide you with more information about caretaking functions and how they might apply to your child custody case.

Defining Caretaking Functions Under Illinois Law

The IMDMA defines caretaking functions as “tasks that involve interaction with a child that direct, arrange, and supervise the interaction with and care of a child provided by others, or for obtaining the resources allowing for the provision of these functions.” In practical terms, and on a day-to-day basis, caretaking functions may include but are not limited to the following:

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Posted on in Child Custody

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody lawyer,Since January 1, 2016, sweeping changes to Illinois family laws have taken effect. Through the alterations to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/), couples who are thinking about divorcing will notice numerous changes in terminology. In some cases, the changes to the law will have an immediate impact. In other situations, the shifts in the law are largely semantic ones intended to have symbolic import. And such a change is precisely how we would categorize the change from “visitation” time that parents have with their kids after divorce to “parenting time.” In other words, the legal language of “visitation” has been removed from the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) in favor of language that speaks to the human realities of a parent’s relationship with his or her child.

Legal Language of “Parenting Time”

What does parenting time mean, exactly? First, it falls under Part VI of the IMDMA, which governs the “allocation of parental responsibilities.” Under the law, parenting time is defined as “the time during which a parent is responsible for exercising caretaking functions and non-significant decision-making responsibilities with respect to the child.” Looking at this specific language, it becomes important to understand what the law means when it refers to “caretaking functions.”

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