Parenting Time

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All parents want what is best for their children, which includes parents spending time with their children and playing a major role in their lives as they grow up. A divorce doesn’t change this. Every parent wants to spend as much time as possible with their children however, in a divorce, the parenting time must be divided between the parents.

The Illinois law governing custody of children was overhauled in recent years Illinois courts no longer award “joint custody,” “primary custody,” “residential custody,” or “sole custody” to either parent. Illinois courts also no longer award “visitation” to the other parent. With the new law, instead of awarding custody and visitation, Illinois now allocates parenting time to each parent and allocates decision making to both parents. The allocation of parenting time to each parent is simply a schedule for which parent the children are with at any given time and day. The allocation of decision making is presumed to be shared between the parents for the decisions involving health care, extra curricular activities, religion, and education.

To allocate parenting time and decision making, an Allocation Judgment is used. Allocation Judgments are formerly known as Joint Parenting Agreements. An Allocation Judgment is the document that is used to specifically assign parenting time and parenting responsibilities.

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Parentage

Parentage, or the identity of the biological parent of a child, must be determined before a court will order child support or allow court ordered parenting time or visitation. A parent can voluntarily acknowledge parentage or seek to have parentage established by the court. A mother or child may also seek the establishment of a familial relationship. When parentage is not voluntarily acknowledged or contested, parentage is established through DNA testing. Once parentage has been officially established by the court, issues of child support, parenting time, parenting responsibilities, and decision making can be addressed by the court.

FAQs

An Allocation Judgment is the document that is used to set forth and specifically assign parenting time and parenting responsibilities.

An allocation of parenting time is very simply a schedule of which parent the children will be with on any given day at any given time. The parenting schedule includes pick-up and drop-off responsibilities and will also set forth a holiday parenting schedule, which states which parent will have parenting time with the children on each holiday.

An allocation of parenting responsibilities sets forth which parent will have decision making authority for issues affecting the children. In Illinois, there are four major parenting decision making areas which the law presumes the parents will work together on. Those areas are issues of healthcare, religion, education, and extracurricular activities. This means that, under Illinois law, for the issues of healthcare, religion, education, and extracurricular activities, the law defaults to joint decision making by the parents. The starting place for decision making for these four children’s issues is that the parents will consult each other and will work together to make a decision that is in the best interests of their children. It is possible to overcome the presumption of joint decision making, but it is very difficult.

No, you will not get custody. In the State of Illinois, there is no longer such a thing as custody. The law governing custody of children was overhauled in recent years and the term “custody” was removed from the statute and the term “visitation” has fallen out of use. Illinois courts no longer award “joint custody,” “primary custody,” “residential custody,” or “sole custody” to either parent. Neither parent is awarded any type of custody of the children. Illinois courts also no longer award “visitation” to one parent. With the new law, instead of awarding custody and visitation, we now allocate parenting time to each parent. The allocation of parenting time to each parent is simply a schedule for which parent the children are with at any given time and day.

A Joint Parenting Agreement is a child custody and parenting agreement that was commonly entered into by parents prior to January 1, 2016. A Joint Parenting Agreement, referred to as a JPA, would set forth joint v. sole legal custody, the primary custodial parent and the visitation schedule of the non-primary custodial parent. As of January 1, 2016, “Joint Parenting Agreements” are no longer accepted by Illinois courts as appropriate for dealing with children’s parenting issues. Beginning January 1, 2016, Illinois law requires an Allocation Judgment for dealing with parenting issues. What was formerly visitation and child custody, is now simply parenting time. An Allocation Judgment awards each parent “parenting time” as well as “parenting responsibilities.”

Although the law changed to no longer utilize Joint Parenting Agreements, this does not mean that a Joint Parenting Agreement entered into prior to January 1, 2016 is no longer valid. Joint Parenting Agreements entered before January 1, 2018 are still valid and enforceable.

Parentage cases are situations when the parties have children together but have never been married. In a Parentage case, the court will deal with children’s issues only. Children’s issues relevant to a Parentage matter are child support, and the division of parenting time and parenting responsibilities.

A Parentage Court will not deal with issues of property division. Property division issues include maintenance, also referred to as spousal support, division of personal property and/or real estate, and the division of financial accounts. Individuals who have never been married do not have the right to receive maintenance nor are property rights established in the Parentage law. Parties may have property rights under other areas of Illinois law, however the Parentage statute does not convey property rights on co-parents.

Establishment of a parent-child relationship is done when parents have children together and are not, or never have been, married to each other. These situations are called Parentage cases and are covered under the Illinois Parentage statute. A parent-child relationship can be established at any time prior to a child’s 18th birthday and must be established before a legal obligation for child support can be set by the Court or any formal and enforceable parenting time will be ordered by the Court. A person can voluntarily acknowledge that they are the child’s parent. This is often done at the hospital at the time of birth and is commonly referred to as a “VAP”, or Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage.

A parent-child relationship can be determined with or without a VAP and/or with or without a parent’s name on the birth certificate.

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