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Defining Parental Responsibility: Family Law in Belleville, Illinois

Parental Responsibility and DivorceUnder a new law that took effect in 2016, parents’ time with children after a divorce is now seen as both a right and a responsibility.

When getting divorced, it is not uncommon for Illinois parents to be concerned about their children and their relationships with their children. While the loss of a marriage and spouse may be difficult for adults, the thought of having less time with their children can be even harder. It can also be challenging for children.

Historically, divorcing parents were awarded custody of their children. The two types of custody governed who would be able to make major decisions on behalf of the kids. It also outlined where kids would live. Visitation could be awarded even for parents who had no custody at all as a way of allowing some contact between parents and kids. All of that has now changed.

Parental responsibility is the new custody

In place of child custody, Illinois now recognizes parental responsibility. Our Family Wizard is an online solution that helps divorced parents co-parent more effectively. It explains that parental responsibility still delineates between legal decision making and everyday caretaking, much as how custody did.

With legal decision making, however, the new parental responsibility is different in that parents can choose to divide power for making decisions by topic. In one family, mom might make the choice about where the kids go to school while dad might make choices about what sports or other activities the kids are involved in outside of school. Divorce mediation in Belleville, IL is a useful tool in determining parent responsibilities.

Caretaking functions

When children are with a parent, that parent has the authority and the responsibility to execute all caretaking functions. This includes everything from potty training to helping with homework to preparing meals and taking kids to and from school or activities. The parent may also arrange for another person to help with some of these things. This may be a nanny, a relative or a neighbor, for example.

A parenting plan can detail out exactly which parent will have the ability to make which decisions on behalf of their kids. Parents can opt to share the power to make decisions or to split them up. The parenting plan will also identify which parent kids will be with when.

Guidance through the divorce process

Putting kids’ needs first is important when getting divorced. A parental divorce can be traumatic for children. It is commonly known that maintaining contact with both parents is in a child’s best interest except in cases involving abuse or other extenuating circumstances.

When faced with a potential divorce, Illinois parents should reach out to a lawyer. A divorce attorney in St. Clair County will fully understand the state’s new laws and learn how to protect and stay connected to children. Contact a divorce attorney, Belleville, IL for answers to your questions.

Parental responsibility: Illinois overhauls its child custody laws

Illinois Child Custody LawsCustody and visitation are no longer; parental responsibility and parenting time replace them.

On January 1, 2016, sweeping new legislation governing divorce and many related family law matters took effect in the state of Illinois that overhauled many aspects of previous law. Provisions regarding child custody and visitation were subject to many major changes, including the very terms used.

It is important that a parent facing the prospect of having to hire a divorce attorney in Belleville, IL. speak with an expert in family law in St. Clair County to understand how the changes impact that parent’s situation and to create a plan for approaching the divorce likely to result in a living situation for the child after the marriage ends that is in his or her best interests.

Many of the statutes amended or repealed by the new law had been in place since 1977, the last time significant legislative action was taken in this area. Recognizing that the many changes in parental roles, parental employment patterns and societal norms made several old provisions outdated, the state legislature in 2008 established the bipartisan Illinois Family Law Study Committee to study the matter and revamp laws relating to divorce and related matters.

The committee in making its recommendations was guided by the principle that the needs of the parties and especially of children should be paramount, instead of the historical focus on fault and blame. There was also a focus on changing important terms to reflect the parent-child relationship with more sensitivity. For example, the idea of a parent “visiting” his or her child was discarded, although certain relatives (grandparents, great-grandparents, stepparents and siblings) may petition the court for the right to “visitation” with a child.

Divorce Mediation and Addressing your Parental Responsibility

One thing that has not changed in Illinois law and that is the same as that of all other states is that all decisions regarding children in divorce are to be made in the child’s best interests.

Changes include:

  • The term “parental responsibilities” means “both parenting time and significant decision-making responsibilities” for the child.
  • Parental responsibilities are “allocated” between the parents.
  • Significant decision-making responsibilities are those of “long-term importance” to a child’s life and include those impacting health, religion, education and extra-curricular activities. Each area may be assigned in the divorce to one parent alone or to both to exercise jointly.
  • The phrase “parenting time” refers to a period of time during which one parent has the responsibility for “caretaking functions” and “non-significant decision-making responsibilities” for the child. Parenting time could refer to what was formerly called either physical custody or visitation.
  • Unusual as compared with similar laws of other states that do not include such detail, “caretaking functions” are described as those involving parental “interaction with a child” or arranging for other persons to do so in the provision to the child of nutrition, daily routines, care when ill, hygiene, play, activities, safety, transportation, developmental needs, discipline, guidance in manners, assignment of chores, school attendance, communication with school staff, homework supervision, relationship building, medical care, “moral and ethical guidance” and more.
  • A “parenting plan” is a written agreement that allocates between the parents significant decision-making responsibilities (similar to the former term “legal custody”), parenting time (formerly physical custody or visitation) or both.

The parents must submit a proposed parenting plan jointly or separately to the court. If the court does not find a proposed plan to be in the child’s best interests or none were submitted, the judge will allocate parental responsibilities and parenting time after considering the evidence in a trial according to the child’s best interests. Divorce attorneys in Belleville, Illinois at the office of Wilson, Dabler & Associates, L.L.C. represent clients in divorce and related matters throughout St. Clair County.

Do I have to pay Child Support if we Co Parent?

Do parents who share parenting need to pay child support? Here’s what you need to know.

Co-Parenting and Child Support in Belleville, IllinoisDealing with a divorce is tricky at any age. Our years of experience as Divorce Attorneys in Belleville, IL have shown us that whether you were married for decades or just a few years, you and your partner will have to separate your assets and divide your lives, but you’ll also have to co-parent your children. The way that your family functions and communicates may change after a divorce, but one thing is for certain: your kids should come first. Many parents are concerned about the financial and emotional changes that may accompany a divorce, especially in regards to the well-being of their child. This is one of the reasons that child support payments may come into play during your divorce.

Child support is designed to ensure that your kids don’t suffer during the divorce. When a couple separates, financial situations often change drastically. Child support payments help protect the child or children involved in a divorce from feeling that impact. These payments should help ensure that the child’s lifestyle stays relatively stable. For example, if a child takes dance lessons prior to the divorce, child support payments can ensure that they are still able to continue with those lessons. Additionally, child support may be used to provide clothing and housing for the child.

Typically, child support is paid to the parent with whom the child primarily resides; however, sometimes parents choose to share parenting time after a separation. There are many different ways that parents can share time with their children. If you and your partner equally care for your child, will you still be expected to pay child support?

Co-Parenting And Family Law In Belleville, IL

The short answer is “it depends.” When you and your partner separate, you’ll talk with a judge about parenting time. During this discussion, your child may have a chance to express their opinion as to where they live. In some cases, it’s beneficial for the child to live with each parent equally. In other cases, the child may primarily reside with one parent, but have parenting time with the other. Sometimes, the child may live with one parent, but both parents will share in the legal responsibilities for the child. For example, both parents may have a say in where the child goes to school or what religion the child practices.

If you and your partner both have similar financial situations and contribute equally to the care of your child, you may not be required to pay or receive child support; however, if one of you makes significantly less than the other, child support payments may be court-ordered. This will help protect your child or children and ensure that they can receive the same care and lifestyle benefits regardless of which parent they’re staying with.

If you have questions about your current parenting plan or want to know more about child support in Illinois, reach out to your divorce attorney today. Your lawyer will discuss parenting plans, parenting time, and parenting payment options with you and can help you to better understand your rights as a parent.

The parents must submit a proposed parenting plan jointly or separately to the court. If the court does not find a proposed plan to be in the child’s best interests or none were submitted, the judge will allocate parental responsibilities and parenting time after considering the evidence in a trial according to the child’s best interests. Divorce attorneys in Belleville, Illinois at the office of Wilson, Dabler & Associates, L.L.C. represent clients in divorce and related matters throughout St. Clair County.

Wilson, Dabler & Associates, L.L.C.

14 South Second Street
Belleville, IL 62220

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