Illinois uses an “allocation of parental responsibilities” instead of the more common legal terms child custody and visitation. The allocation of parental responsibilities includes the decision-making responsibility of the parent and parenting time. If the parents cannot agree on how they will allocate the parental responsibilities, the court may have to intervene and make an allocation judgment. Like other states, the Illinois court will base its judgment on the child’s best interests.
An allocation of decision-making responsibilities is like an award of legal custody. It grants either or both parents the right to decide on the child’s education, health care, religious instruction and extra-curricular activities. Basically, any significant decision that directly impacts the child’s life. The parents can allocate the responsibilities separately or share them all. One parent might want authority over the child’s education, while the other controls religious practices.
Instead of visitation rights and physical custody, Illinois law uses an allocation of parenting time to determine the time the child spends with each parent. When a parent has parenting time with the child, they are responsible for “exercising caretaking functions and non-significant decision-making responsibilities” concerning the child. It might also be relevant to note that, unlike most states where a child can decide where they will live at 14, a child can only choose where they will live when they reach 18 years old in Illinois. However, other factors will largely impact the primary residence of the child.
The allocation of parental responsibilities also affects the award of child support. The parents are both responsible for supporting their minor children, but child support can continue if the child is still in high school after 18 years old. Furthermore, in 2022, the state requires parents to acquire health insurance for their child if the case involves child support matters related to divorce or a child custody case.
It isn’t easy to deal with your ex, and it gets even harder when a child is involved. However, there are ways you can give your child the kind of care you best see fit.