Entering the post-divorce world as a single parent can be overwhelming, especially in wake of the emotional toll brought on by the separation. One of the most important tasks you will face as a newly single parent is handling the allocation of parental responsibilities. This is a phrase that the law in Illinois began using as of January 1, 2016 to refer to arrangements that are made that determine which parent is responsible for what when it comes to the child they share. Prior to 2016, such concerns were addressed in child custody proceedings, often with less flexibility and more contentiousness.
The allocation of parental responsibilities covers all aspects of the child’s care, including where the child lives and with whom, and which parent is responsible for making certain decisions for the child’s well-being. The court may also determine parenting time, previously known as visitation, another important aspect of the allocation of parental responsibilities.
Where to Start
Beginning the Parental Responsibilities process can vary slightly from county to county, but in general, this is how it works in Illinois:
- Familiarize yourself with your county’s rules. Consider seeking legal representation to ensure that your rights are properly protected;
- File a petition;
- Schedule a case management conference that is no later than 90 days after you file;
- Notify the other parent you are asking for parental responsibilities. To do this, you must serve them a “summons” along with the filed petition; and
- Wait to hear from the other parent. If the parent does not respond, ask the court for a default judgement
Nailing Down the Details
Once the process has begun, each parent is required to file a parenting plan. This must be done within 120 days of asking the court for parental responsibilities. In the event that neither parent files a plan, the child’s best interest will be in the hands of the court. Ideally, both parents can agree on a plan, and the court will allow you to file one jointly-developed plan.
Should you disagree on parenting responsibilities, the judge typically sends you to mediation, where a trained professional attempts to help you reach an agreement. You will need to consider a number of aspects when creating your plan, including your child’s healthcare, schooling, living arrangements, and religious upbringing, if any.
While there is a lot to address when facing the allocation of parental responsibilities, the process can be efficient and productive when you have the right representation. Contact a knowledgeable Orland Park family law attorney to help guide you through the process from start to finish. Call Kezy & Associates at 708-518-8200 to schedule a free introductory consultation today.