The children’s welfare is one of the most difficult issues a couple faces when they terminate their relationship or marriage. Parents must be prepared to deal with their child custody duties, now known as parental responsibilities, if they decide to seek custody in Illinois.
The court awards parental responsibilities when the children’s parents get divorced. If their parents are unmarried, this occurs when the court decides if a person is the child’s legal parent or one of the parents seeks child support or parenting time.
The parent with the child is responsible for their day-to-day care. This care includes feeding them, getting the child off to school, keeping the child clean and dressed, taking the child to their activities, playing with them, taking them to medical appointments, imposing any necessary discipline, assuring that the child does chores and having someone watch them.
Decision-making power and parenting time are the two parental responsibilities. First, parental decision is the power to decide how to raise the child in areas such as education, healthcare, after-school activities, and religion.
Parenting time is the second area and is the time the child spends with a parent. Courts generally award both parents some parenting time which may be unequal. Children generally live with one parent and have visitation or regular contact with their other parent.
Generally, the child’s parents have the sole right to request parental responsibilities. A person may seek parental responsibilities if they are not the child’s parent in special circumstances. For example, this may occur when a parent permanently leaves the child in someone else’s care.
A stepparent may request parental responsibilities. They need to prove that the parent with more parenting time died or cannot care for the child and the stepparent is caring for the child. Also, the child wants to live with that stepparent, and it is in their best interests to live with the stepchild.
Other individuals can also seek approval to spend time with the child. A grandparent, aunt or close friend can ask a court for visitation.
An attorney can help acquire parental responsibilities. They can also seek a settlement or court order that assure the best interests of the child.