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Law Offices of Samuel J. Erkonen, P.C.
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Illinois Family Law in 2016: No More “Custody” or “Visitation”

By: Kareen Janiak

Major changes are coming to Illinois Family law in 2016. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act is going through a major re-write, with new laws that will come into effect on January 1, 2016. One major change will be that the terms "custody" and "visitation" will no longer be used. Instead, these matters will be referred to as "parental responsibilities" and "parenting time."

Assignment of "Parental Responsibilities"

Under the new Illinois Child Custody law, decision-making authority regarding these major subjects will not necessarily be granted to one parent or both parents. Rather, the court will determine which parent should be responsible for each subject. For example, a judge may decide that the mother be responsible for making decisions on education and extracurricular activities, and that the father be responsible for making decisions with regards to healthcare. Or, a judge may decide that both parents be responsible for the decision in one, two, or all subjects. The judge will decide separately for each major area. The assignment of parental responsibilities will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case.

Best Interests of the Child

As always, every case will have different facts and different results. If both parents agree on how to split and share the different responsibilities, they can enter into a written parenting agreement. If the parents do not agree, the judge will examine the facts of the case, and use the best interests of the child standard in reaching its decision.

Sam's passion is helping ordinary people solve real problems. When you need the services of an experienced and down-to-earth attorney, contact Sam Erkonen. He will schedule a meeting at your convenience, answer all of your questions, and let you know the best way to proceed with your legal concerns.

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New Visitation Law: "Parenting Time"

Under the new law that comes into effect on January 1, 2016, the term "visitation time" will be replaced by "parenting time." Since there will be no more "residential custody," the way that parenting time schedules will be determined will be different than in the past. Similar to the subject of parental responsibilities, the court will look towards certain "best interests of the child" factors in reaching a decision on a parenting schedule.

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