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Child custody is often a significant issue for divorced or unmarried parents in Illinois and across the country. Over time, laws have changed to be more equitable between parents. Changes to recent laws have also given more weight to what the child wants. While you should always consult with an experienced Hinsdale child custody attorney to remain up to date on Illinois child custody laws, here are some recent changes you should know about.
Since 2016, there have been many significant changes in child custody laws in Illinois that both parents should be aware of. These changes aim to prioritize the child's best interests while ensuring fairness and clarity in custody arrangements. Below are some fundamental changes that have been implemented regarding child custody to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.
One of the most notable changes is the shift in terminology from "child custody" to "allocation of parental responsibilities." This change reflects a broader approach to parental rights and responsibilities, emphasizing the division of decision-making authority and parenting time between parents. The focus is on promoting cooperation and shared decision-making rather than labeling one parent as the custodial parent and the other as the noncustodial parent.
Illinois now requires parents to submit a comprehensive parenting plan outlining various aspects of their child's upbringing. This plan includes details about the child's education, healthcare, extracurricular activities, and other essential matters. By requiring parents to work together to create a parenting plan, the law ensures that both parents remain actively involved in their child's life.
The updated laws also consider the child's preferences when determining the allocation of parental responsibilities. While the child's wishes are not the sole factor, they are evaluated based on age, maturity, and ability to express their opinions. This ensures that children have a voice in decisions directly impacting their lives.
The court considers several factors when determining the allocation of parenting time, including:
Each parent's willingness to facilitate a close relationship between the child and the other parent
The child's adjustment to their home, school, and community
Any history of abuse or neglect by either parent
Certain notification and consent requirements have been modified if a parent wishes to relocate with the child. The new laws provide clearer guidelines on the information that must be shared with the other parent, as well as the process for objecting to the relocation.
The court places significant emphasis on protecting children from any form of harm, including domestic violence. When making decisions regarding parental responsibilities and parenting time, any history of domestic violence or abuse is considered to ensure the child's safety and well-being.
These recent changes reflect a modern approach to child custody and emphasize the importance of shared parenting and parental cooperation. While these laws aim to streamline and improve the child custody process, parents must understand their rights and responsibilities under the updated legislation. Consulting with a seasoned Hinsdale child custody attorney is advisable to navigate the new child custody laws effectively and ensure the best outcome for both parents and their children. Contact Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio online or by phone at 630-920-8855 to schedule a no-obligation case consultation.