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Joliet, IL 60432
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Joliet Allocation of Parental Responsibilities Attorney

Joliet, IL family law attorney for allocation of parental responsibilities

Lawyer for Legal Custody of Children in Divorce and Family Law Cases in Will County

A divorce or the breakup of an unmarried couple can be difficult for both parents and children. As parents' living arrangements change, the way they handle their responsibilities toward their children may need to shift, but they will usually need to figure out a way to be able to continue raising their children as co-parents. This is not always easy, especially if parents are experiencing strong emotions and conflict during their breakup. To ensure that these matters will be handled properly, it is important for a parent to secure representation from an attorney who can help them protect their rights and their children's best interests.

Erin Webster O'Brien, P.C. works with parents in divorce and child custody cases, helping them determine the best ways they can maintain good relationships with their children and provide for their ongoing needs. We understand the emotional and practical difficulties that families face in these situations, and we believe in finding fair and sensible solutions. With our help, you can make sure you and your children will be prepared to move on successfully from your divorce or breakup.

Legal Custody: The Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

In recent years, the state of Illinois has revamped its laws with the intent of avoiding an adversarial approach to child custody cases. The state's laws now recognize that both parents play an important role in children's upbringing, and both mothers and fathers should be able to be closely involved in making decisions about their children's lives, even if they are no longer in a relationship with each other. What used to be known as legal custody of children is now called the allocation of parental responsibilities, and it refers to the right to make decisions about important issues in children's lives.

Most of the time, it is presumed that parents should share in parental responsibilities and work together to make major decisions regarding their children. The decision-making responsibilities that are addressed in Illinois law involve four areas:

  • Healthcare, in which parents may decide which doctors children will see and what forms of medical treatment they will receive
  • Education, in which parents will choose where children will go to school and whether they will receive any tutoring or additional education outside of school
  • Extracurricular activities, in which parents will be able to enroll children in athletics, scouting, music or dance lessons, after-school clubs, or other hobbies or pursuits
  • Religion, in which parents will decide whether and where children will attend church or other types of religious services and receive any religious training

In many cases, parents will be able to have equal decision-making authority in each of these areas. However, it may be appropriate in some situations for a parent to have sole authority in one or more areas of responsibility. For example, if a child has extraordinary medical needs, such as a developmental disorder, the parent who primarily cares for the child may be given the right to make decisions about the child's treatment without the need to receive approval from the other parent.

Ideally, parents will be able to work together to negotiate a parenting plan that defines how decision-making responsibilities will be allocated. They may do so by discussing these issues between themselves while consulting with their attorneys, or they may use mediation or collaborative law to resolve any disputes that arise. If the parents cannot reach an agreement regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities or parenting time, they may need to settle these disputes through litigation. In these cases, the parents will ask the judge in their case to make the final decisions about the allocation of parental responsibilities, as well as any other outstanding issues that need to be resolved.

Contact Our Will County Child Custody Lawyer

Attorney Erin O'Brien can provide you with the legal representation you need when addressing matters related to the custody of your children. She will fight to protect your parental rights while helping you determine the best ways to ensure that your children's best interests will be put first during legal proceedings. To learn how we can help you achieve positive results in your case, contact us by calling 815-727-2100 to arrange a confidential consultation.

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