What is “Joint Custody” in Illinois

Joint custody

In divorce and child custody matters, the term “joint custody” has undergone a transformation in Illinois, where it is now referred to as “parental responsibility.” How does parental responsibility impact divorced parents and their children?

Parental responsibility in Illinois consists of two primary components: decision-making and parenting time. Decision-making involves crucial aspects such as health, education, religion, and extracurricular activities. Parents must determine whether one parent exclusively makes these decisions, they collaborate jointly, or if there’s a middle ground between the two.

Do Parents’ Choices Affect How Much Time They Spend with Their Child?

Parenting time is a separate issue. Parents may have equal 50-50 time-sharing arrangements while one parent makes all decisions. Or they may share decision-making but have significantly uneven parenting time. These aspects are independent and are influenced by factors such as the age of the children, the distance between parents’ residences, and their work schedules.

Why the Shift in Terminology?

The shift in terminology from joint custody to parental responsibility aims to better reflect the nature of the legal arrangement. While the federal government still uses the term  custody, Illinois opted for  parental responsibility to move away from the connotations of confinement that is often associated with the word custody.

The term child custody remains prevalent in public discourse and among divorce professionals. However, many people view the shift to parental responsibility as more accurate, highlighting the importance of shared responsibility rather than the restrictive implications of custody.

The impact of this terminology change extends beyond legal jargon; it influences how parents perceive their roles. Making decisions for your children is a crucial aspect of parenting and having the right to participate in decisions regarding health, education, and extracurricular activities is significant for many parents. The term parental responsibility aligns with a more collaborative and inclusive approach, emphasizing the shared duty you both have in raising your children.

Parental responsibility in Illinois transcends the traditional notion of joint custody. It separates decision-making from parenting time, highlighting the importance of shared responsibility and collaboration between parents, ultimately shaping a more nuanced and child-focused approach to divorce and custody matters.

The Law Offices of Patrick Markey, P.C., are dedicated to the Collaborative Divorce Process.  Our Offices are located at 180 Stetson Avenue, Suite 3500 in Chicago, Illinois. You can call us at 312-223-1763.