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Child Custody and Allocating Decision-Making Responsibilities

Judith Trentman Wilson, Attorney at Law, P.C. Jan. 12, 2021

There are many factors to consider in an Illinois child custody case. Now generally referred to as parental responsibility, custody determinations can be complex and nerve wracking. It is preferable if the parties can negotiate an amicable agreement on their own, but that is not always possible. With that, the court will need to make certain determinations as to where the child will live and how parenting time will be handled. There are underlying concerns including how decision-making responsibility is allocated. This is imperative because it means the court will say which parent will have the right to make decisions about significant issues in the child’s life.

How Are “significant Decisions” Categorized?

When a parent is granted the decision-making responsibilities, there are certain issues in that category. They include deciding how the child will be educated. That means the type of school the child attends, tutors that are used and other educational aspects. The child’s health care and decisions related to it will be the responsibility of the parent given that authority. It can be related to medical, dental and psychological care. The parent can decide which religion will be followed, but there are provisions.

The provisions regarding religious upbringing will require implied or express agreements the parents have made. Without an agreement between the parties, the parents’ previous behavior will be factored in according to the context of the religious upbringing. The court will not allocate responsibility for religious upbringing if there was no agreement or if there is not enough evidence indicating that there were religious behaviors that could be used to present a guideline for it after the parents have parted ways.

For Family Law Cases, It Is Wise to Have Legal Assistance

Allocation of decision-making responsibility in family law can be the foundation for disagreement or outright acrimony. Of course, if the parents can negotiate and agree on their own, the court will assess the agreement and decide if it is acceptable. If the parents cannot agree, going to court might be the only alternative. As with any part of a family law case, it is wise to have experienced legal advice to achieve a satisfactory resolution and be fully protected.