Are You Asking the Right Questions?

????No longer a “custody battle,” but an “allocation of significant decision-making responsibilities and parenting time battle” ……. a what?! Whoever said “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” was the longest, most difficult word has probably not recently found themselves in the midst of a heated divorce in which minor children are involved.

The question under Illinois law is no longer “who gets custody of the children” but rather “how are all of the parental responsibilities going to be allocated? In fact, Illinois lawmakers added two provisions to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act titled “Allocation of parental responsibilities: decision-making” and “Allocation of parental responsibilities: parenting time” in 2016 in attempt to remove the term “custody” and the negative connotation associated with it.

Let’s break this down. The real questions are:

● Who will be the primary residential parent?

● How is the weekly parenting time going to being allocated?

● Every other weekend?

● Week on week off?

● Two days, three days, two days?

● Which parent will make the significant decisions for the children? Will it be the mother, the father, or both? Will mom make some of the decisions or will dad make all of them?

● Who decides what faith the children will follow?

● Who decides whether Sarah needs braces?

● Who decides which school the children will attend?

● Who decides whether John plays basketball or Claire plays the violin?

● Then lets get into the really ugly (and completely separate) debate. Who is going to pay child support? How will that child support be calculated? Who gets to claim the tax deduction? Who has to carry health insurance? Who is paying for those braces and violin lessons? How will the children’s college education be funded?

Two people who once shared everything, including the responsibility of raising their children are now trying to create separate lives, independent of each other.

But you can’t just split your kids in two and go your separate ways. And at a time, when emotions are flaring from all sides, the really intricate questions and minute details (like who will pick John up from basketball practice) seem the easiest things to bicker about. But this isn’t good for anyone involved in the process.

Don’t let yourself get caught up in the bickering; find an attorney that knows the law, stays abreast of the changes, will explain the process and help you reach a better solution, a completed Allocation Judgment which will encompass all of the necessary information so that both you and your co-parent can continue raising your children.

by Brandy Wisher