What Is the Difference Between Joint and Sole Custody?
Determining Allocation of Parental Responsibilities in Illinois
While changes to the law in Illinois have eliminated the term "child custody", parental responsibilities can still be allocated on a sole or joint basis. These allocations determine whether important decisions regarding the child are to be made solely by one parent or by both parents working together to protect the child's best interests.
For many years, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) offered two distinct child custody options for divorced, separated, or unmarried parents. One parent could be awarded sole custody and retain all authority for making important decisions regarding the child, or both parents could agree to share the decision-making responsibilities. Despite amendments that went into effect in 2016 and removed the term “custody” from the law, many families are still subject to orders of sole or joint child custody from previous court rulings.
Parental Responsibility Attorneys in DuPage County
If you are going through a divorce, separation, or breakup, you and the other parent will be expected to develop a parenting plan that outlines each party's rights and responsibilities regarding your child. You may decide to allocate significant decision-making responsibility to one parent—similar to a sole custody arrangement—or you can divide the authority between both parents, as in a joint custody situation.
Significant decisions include those related to the child's following needs:
- Health and medical care;
- Religious training, if appropriate; and
- Extracurricular activities.
It is important to keep in mind that parental responsibilities for significant decisions do not define your relationship with your child. Even if you have not been allocated any decision-making authority, you still have the right to parenting time with your child. At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC, our experienced attorneys can help you exercise your rights and to maintain a healthy, positive parent-child relationship.
There is nothing more important than providing for the well-being of your children, and our lawyers are here to assist you in doing just that. Contact our office today and speak to a member of our team about your case. Call 630-665-7300 for a confidential consultation. We are proud to serve families in Wheaton, Naperville, Oak Brook, Downers Grove, and the rest of DuPage County and Northern Illinois.