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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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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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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.”

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