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Parentage & Child Custody

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Parentage & Child Custody

Having parental responsibilities means making important decisions for a child, and spending time with them. The court usually decides who gets parental responsibilities when married parents get a divorce. If the parents were never married, parental responsibilities are decided when:

  • The court needs to decide if a person is a legal parent of a child. This is called parentage; or
  • One of the parents asks for child support or time with the child.

When a child is with a parent, that parent oversees day-to-day care for the child.

This includes:

  • Feeding the child
  • Getting the child up and off to school
  • Taking care of the child when the child is sick
  • Making sure the child is clean and dressed
  • Getting the child to activities
  • Playing with the child
  • Getting the child to medical appointments
  • Punishing the child, if necessary
  • Making sure the child does chores
  • Arranging for someone to watch the child

You have probably heard the words custody and visitation before. As of January 1, 2016, Illinois no longer uses these words. Instead, it uses the words significant decision-making responsibility and parenting time.

  • Significant decision-making responsibility means important decisions for a child in the areas of education, health care, extracurricular activities, and religion. The court can give one or both parents significant decision-making responsibility. If the parents share decision-making responsibility, they have to talk to each other before making decisions about the child. This is what used to be called joint custody. If the court gives one parent decision-making responsibility, that parent can make decisions without asking the other parent. This is what used to be called sole custody.
  • Parenting time means time the child spends with each parent, including which parent the child lives with. The court usually gives both parents some parenting time, but time is not always equal. Usually, the child lives mostly with one parent (this used to be called the custodial parent) and has regular contact with the other parent (this used to be called visitation).
Do You Need Help With Parentage & Child Custody Issues?

Chicago Family Law Group has years of experience in dealing with these sensitive matters. Contact us today, and we’ll take a look at your unique situation and see how we can best assist you.

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