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St. Charles divorce lawyer parental responsibilityIf you are an Illinois parent going through a divorce, your divorce decree will include a parenting plan that specifies how parental responsibility (also known as decision making) and parenting time (also known as custody and visitation) will be allocated between you and your ex-spouse. 

This is an important document that will play a major part in determining how you will interact with your former spouse and your child for years to come. Therefore, it is critical to think through this document and to be as comprehensive as possible. It is also important to make the terms flexible. This plan must be able to grow with your family for years to come. 

The Importance of a Parenting Plan

Before discussing what should be covered in your parenting plan, it is important to understand the purpose of such a document within the scope of your family law case. You and your ex may be able to work together to create a parenting plan, but if you cannot agree on the terms of the plan, each of you must file your own parenting plan. Typically, each spouse is required to file a parenting plan within 120 days of petitioning for parental responsibilities. A court will review and consider the parenting plans when deciding how parental responsibilities will be divided. 

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Elgin divorce lawyer parental rightsWhile Illinois is a “no fault” state in matters of divorce, the casting of blame and claiming of negative attributes is arguably still relevant in one matter that is directly related to divorce: the allocation of parental responsibility. Decisions about where children will live and who will be responsible for making decisions regarding how they are raised can be among the most contentious issues that parents must address during divorce. When working to resolve these issues, it is essential to have an attorney on your side who can protect your rights and advocate for your family’s best interests.

Allocating Parental Responsibility and Parenting Time in Illinois

Illinois law no longer uses the term “child custody” when referring to the legal or physical custody of children following divorce. This term has been replaced with “allocation of parental responsibilities.” The law identifies four areas of decision-making responsibility that can be divided or shared between parents: education, healthcare, religion, and extracurricular activities.

In addition to identifying areas of decision-making responsibility, Illinois law also refers to the time children spend with both parents as “parenting time,” rather than designating a custodial parent and granting visitation to the other parent. With this change, the law recognizes the importance of both parents’ roles in their children’s lives. 

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Examining the Recent Changes to Illinois Child Support Laws

Historically, Illinois has used a straightforward calculation to determine the amount of child support that a non-custodial parent must pay to a custodial parent, basing the amount of support payments on a percentage of the paying parent’s income. That all changed in July of 2017, when a change to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act went into effect. The new law can have a major impact on your Kane County child support case.

A Closer Look at the New Income Shares Model

The previous method of calculating child support obligations was unfortunately not always an effective model. The actual costs of raising a child were not considered, nor was parenting time or the receiving parent’s income. The new model takes all these factors into account. Spousal support, which may be awarded in some divorce cases, is also factored in, whenever applicable.

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