When parents of a child are planning to separate, whether they were married or not, there are many important decisions that need to be made. This includes parenting time, how they plan to fulfill parenting duties, and how the child will be raised. Further, the parents will need to decide how they will handle important decisions regarding the child’s welfare. This includes decision making in education, extra-curricular activities, healthcare, and religion.
Some parents wonder if they are able to retain sole legal custody instead of sharing custody of the child with the other parent. While the term “child custody” is still sometimes used, Illinois law typically uses the term “parenting time” to describe when the child is with each parent and “allocation of parental responsibilities” when describing how to allocate decision making between the parents.
More often than not, courts typically favor a parenting arrangement in which the child spends time with both parents. In very limited circumstances, it can still be in the best interest of the child for only one of the parents to retain all of the parenting time or all of the parenting responsibilities. Illinois law encourages the maximum involvement and cooperation of both parents. If parents are unable to agree on decisions about their child’s welfare and parenting time with the child, the court must decide how to allocate among the parents.
In cases where parents cannot agree, the judge will impose a plan based on what is in the best interests of the child. In determining what is in the best interest of the child, there are a variety of factors to consider. These can include, but are not limited to, the relationship between the child and the parents, the child’s connection to home, school and the community, the wishes of both parents, any evidence of abuse on the part of either parent, each parent’s schedules as it relates to time with the child, and the wishes of the child.
Contact the attorneys at Allison & Mosby-Scott to discuss your options.