Custody Overview

Child Custody in Oak Brook, Wheaton and Naperville

In January 2016, the State of Illinois radically modified its child custody laws largely eliminating the concept of custody as it was previously understood.  The legislature hoped to eliminate custody battles that were common in divorce or when unmarried parents separated.  The concepts of joint custody, sole custody, legal custody, residential custody and split custody (phrases commonly understood by most couples) are now antiquated under Illinois law.  While the terminology may have changed, the fundamental questions that must be resolved remain:

  • How will major decisions for the children about health care, education, religion and extracurricular activities be made?
  • When will each parent spend time with the children?
  • How will parenting time be allocated on holidays and special occasions?

These questions (and more) must be addressed in a Parenting Plan before a divorce may be resolved.

Allocation of Parental Responsibility

Divorcing couples are now charged with the task of allocating significant decision-making authority for their children.  In practice, allocating significant decision-making is similar to determining custody.  The first task is to decide who will have significant decision-making authority for the children in the areas of education, religion, healthcare and extracurricular activities.  Significant decision-making authority may be shared equally (akin to joint custody) or may be one parent’s sole dominion (similar to sole custody).   However, it is also possible to break up significant decision making authority allowing parents to share responsibility in some areas and/or give one parent exclusive control in other areas.  Routine decisions (i.e., when to eat dinner, what to feed the kids, when to go to bed) are allocated to the parent in possession of the child.

The Child’s Residence

Divorcing couples must designate a child’s primary residence for purposes of Section 602.10 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (“IMDMA”).  The designation cannot be used in future litigation between the couple.  Typically, the child’s residence will be with the parent who has the majority of parenting time.

Parenting Time

Parenting time refers to the hours and days a child will spend with each parent individually and is similar in concept to visitation.  Either a divorcing couple or the court will implement a schedule that allocates parenting time on a weekly basis and considers holidays and special occasions.

Oak Brook, Wheaton and Naperville Child Custody Lawyer

Custody is an emotional and stressful subject for parents undergoing a divorce or a break-up.  It requires rational and careful thought.  You need an experienced and skilled attorney to help you get a fair parenting plan for you and your children.  At Goodman Law Firm, we represent mothers, fathers, custodial and non-custodial parents alike.

If you are looking for an experienced litigator in Oak Brook, Naperville, Wheaton, or Chicago, contact us today at (630) 464-6700 and request a custody consultation.