Under the newly established child custody law, custody is now known as “Allocation of Parental Responsibilities”, the court shall allocate to one, or both of the parents, the significant decision-making responsibility for each significant issue separately and also regarding healthcare, education, religion, and extracurricular activities. Unless the parents agree in writing on an allocation of the significant decision-making responsibilities, the court will allocate these rights and obligations based on the child's best interests.
Know the difference between Sole and Joint Decision Making Authority (formerly known as Custody)
Sole Decision Making Authority (formerly known as Sole Custody)
The parent with sole decision making has sole decision making authority in the areas of:
- Health care
- and Extra-Curricular Activities
Sole Decision Making doesn't mean that you get to make decisions in regards to parenting time (formerly known as visitation). A parent with limited or no decision making authority is still entitled to reasonable parenting time (visitation).
Joint Decision Making Authority (formerly known as Joint Custody)
Depending on the circumstances, this is what is best for the child(ren).
Joint Decision Making allows for the maximum amount of participation by both parties with their child(ren). Joint decision making requires parents to cooperate and work together to provide a safe, happy, and loving relationship between parents and child(ren).
Illinois' “The Best Interest Statute”
Illinois looks at 750 ILCS 5/602, more commonly known as the "best interest statute" when looking at child custody matters
(750 ILCS 5/602) (from Ch. 40, par. 602)
Sec. 602. Best Interest of Child.
(a) The court shall determine custody in accordance with the best interest of the child. The court shall consider all relevant factors including:
- the wishes of the child's parent or parents as to his custody;
- the wishes of the child as to his custodian;
- the interaction and interrelationship of the child with his parent or parents, his siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interest;
- the child's adjustment to his home, school and community;
- the mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
- the physical violence or threat of physical violence by the child's potential custodian, whether directed against the child or directed against another person;
- the occurrence of ongoing or repeated abuse as defined in Section 103 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, whether directed against the child or directed against another person;
- the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child;
- whether one of the parents is a sex offender; and
- the terms of a parent's military family-care
plan that a parent must complete before deployment if a parent is a member of the United States Armed Forces who is being deployed.
In the case of a custody proceeding in which a stepparent has standing under Section 601, it is presumed to be in the best interest of the minor child that the natural parent have the custody of the minor child unless the presumption is rebutted by the stepparent.
(b) The court shall not consider conduct of a present or proposed custodian that does not affect his relationship to the child.
(c) Unless the court finds the occurrence of ongoing abuse as defined in Section 103 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, the court shall presume that the maximum involvement and cooperation of both parents regarding the physical, mental, moral, and emotional well-being of their child is in the best interest of the child. There shall be no presumption in favor of or against joint custody.
(Source: P.A. 95-331, eff. 8-21-07; 96-676, eff. 1-1-10.)