location 166 W. Washington St., Ste. 400, Chicago, IL 60602
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George Skuros
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phone 312-884-1222

Chicago Child Custody Attorney

Illinois parental decision-making responsibility attorney

Chicago Family Lawyer for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities in Cook County and Surrounding Areas

When you and your spouse share children who are under the age of 18 at the time of your divorce, one of the most important decisions that you will need to make is how the two of you will continue to be involved in their upbringing. While these decisions are still commonly referred to as child custody, the State of Illinois now refers to them as the allocation of parental responsibilities out of recognition that in most cases, the care and raising of children remain the shared responsibilities of both parents after a divorce.

However, that does not mean it is always easy for divorcing couples to agree on the terms of their parenting plan, and if you encounter obstacles, an attorney can help you overcome them. At The Law Offices of George J. Skuros, we will keep your children's best interests in mind as we work to achieve a resolution that allows you to maintain a relationship with your kids and continue to be a part of their lives.

Elements of the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities in Illinois

During the divorce process, the allocation of parental responsibilities includes decisions in two primary areas: parenting time and significant decision-making. Parenting time, formally known as visitation, refers to the time that the children will spend living with each parent after the divorce, and you will need to address both the distribution of parenting time and the specific schedule of days or weeks that will be allocated to each parent. Significant decision-making involves each parent's authority to make or contribute to decisions regarding important aspects of your children's upbringing, which include:

  • Education, such as where the children will attend school and the need for tutoring or other educational resources
  • Religion, such as the faith in which your children will be raised, attendance of religious services, and each parent's role in religious education
  • Extracurricular activities, such as the children's involvement in clubs, teams, athletics, cultural activities, and more
  • Health, including choice of care providers and decisions related to both physical and mental health treatment

Legal Considerations Regarding Parental Responsibilities

Whereas other aspects of the divorce process, including spousal support and the division of property, primarily focus on the needs and interests of the divorcing spouses, legal decisions regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities will be made according to the best interests of your children. To ensure that this is the case, the court will take into consideration:

  • The children's needs
  • The children's wishes, especially if they have reached a maturity level at which they can express them independently
  • The children's connection to their current home, school, and community
  • The current state of the children's relationships with both parents and their involvement in their lives
  • The physical and mental health of the children and parents
  • The history of domestic violence, sexual abuse, or other dangerous behavior on the part of either parent
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to cooperate with each other, encourage their children to maintain a relationship with the other parent, and put the children's needs above their own
  • The wishes of both parents

If you and the other parent are willing to work together on a parenting plan, this may be your best option for reaching a resolution that meets the needs of everyone involved. You can file your proposed parenting plan with the court, where it may be approved if the court determines that it provides for your children's best interests. If you and the other parent cannot agree, however, the court will need to make a judgment after considering both parents' proposed plans, and in some cases, a report from a court-appointed guardian ad litem regarding the best interests of your children.

Contact a Mount Prospect Parental Responsibility Lawyer

Considering the effects that your divorce will have on your children's lives, it is important to work with an attorney who can assist with an appropriate allocation of parental responsibilities. For a free consultation with our experienced attorney, contact us at 312-884-1222. We represent parents throughout Cook County and the Chicago area, including the North Shore, the Northwest Suburbs, Mount Prospect, Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Park Ridge, Inverness, Schaumburg, and the surrounding areas.

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