What Is the Difference Between Legal and Physical Custody?

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Child Custody
What Is the Difference Between Legal and Physical Custody?

Working out arrangements for child custody is often the most difficult part of a divorce. Understanding some of the terms used in Illinois to describe child custody issues can be tricky as well. What used to be called “legal custody” is now referred to as “parental responsibilities.” “Parenting time” is the new term for “physical custody.” During a divorce or other custody case, both will need to be determined, and a parenting plan will need to be filed.

If you are going through legal proceedings related to child custody, it is important that you are represented by a skilled attorney. Child custody is perhaps the most important legal concern most people will ever face.

What are Parental Responsibilities?

The “allocation of parental responsibilities” is a broad term that applies to the entire process of determining who has the right to make certain decisions about the child’s upbringing, as well as financial support responsibilities. In terms of custody, parental responsibilities give one or both parents the right to make choices about the child’s education, religious involvement, medical and mental health treatment, and other important aspects of how the child should be raised.

The parent granted parental responsibility in a particular area will not need to consult the other parent before making decisions for the child in that area. For example, if the father has sole parental responsibility concerning the child’s medical care, he does not need to consult the mother before consenting to a medical procedure on the child’s behalf. However, if the determined arrangement is that both parents must be part of the decision-making process, the parents will be required to cooperate.

What is Parenting Time?

Parenting time is exactly what it sounds like – time spent with the child. Illinois courts always consider the child’s interests as the top priority and generally try to give the child some time with each parent. The only real exception is if spending time with one parent could be physically or emotionally damaging. Parenting time arrangements can vary wildly depending primarily on the child’s needs and interests.

Although it used to be called “physical custody,” courts can order that parenting time be conducted virtually or at supervised visitation centers. The parent who has parenting time at the present will still need to consult the parent with parental responsibilities before making any major decisions.

It is also important to note that both types of custody can be joint, with the parents sharing decision-making responsibilities. What the court may decide is heavily dependent on a family’s individual situation and a child’s particular needs and wants.

Source: https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=075000050K602.7

Contact an Illinois Child Custody Lawyer

If you are facing legal issues regarding child custody, you will want to contact a skilled Schaumburg child custody attorney. Parents often experience a lot of anxiety and stress when dealing with child custody cases. Reifman Law Offices aims to bring our clients peace of mind knowing that an experienced lawyer is fighting to protect their parent-child relationship. Call 847-229-8433 for a free consultation.

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