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Kane County Child Custody Terms Explained

 Posted on March 04, 2022 in Family Law

Kane County Parenting Time LawyerYou are probably familiar with terms like “custody” and “visitation.” Terms like these have been used across the country for a long time. You do not need to have a legal background to know that “physical custody” has to do with who the child is physically with. Illinois uses updated terminology for a number of reasons. Some of the old terms no longer reflect the current reality of Illinois families. Others were changed because they carried unintended implications. This changing terminology came as part of a broader overhaul in divorce law and other types of family law related to children. While you may still hear the old terms used in less formal settings, it is helpful to understand the terms you will hear in the courtroom. 

What Child-Related Family Law Terms Should I Know?

It can be easy to get a little confused in court or during mediation if you have not been made aware of the updated terminology. Here are a few terms specific to Illinois that you should know:

  • Allocation of Parental Responsibilities - The term “child custody” is no longer used at all in Illinois courts. Instead, the process of determining who a child will spend time with and when, as well as who will have decision-making power is called the “Allocation of Parental Responsibilities.” This reflects the idea that both parents still have and share responsibility for their children. 

  • Parenting time - This term is used in place of “visitation.” The idea that a child is merely “visiting” one parent rather than being parented by them is considered incorrect or outdated. Both parents are assumed to share the job of raising and guiding the child. Rather than “primary custody,” you might hear “more parenting time.” The term “joint custody” is now “shared parenting time.”

  • Decision-making - “Legal custody” can be a confusing or misleading term. It sounds as if one parent legally has custody and the other is a mere guest in the child’s life. Decision-making refers to the right to make important choices about how the child is raised, such as what school they will attend, what religion they can be taught, and how their medical or mental health care should be handled. This parental responsibility can be shared. 

  • Parenting plan - This refers to the overall set of determinations related to childrearing between divorced or never-married parents, including the parenting time schedule and how decision-making is to be handled. 

  • Parentage - This term has replaced the term “paternity.” Parentage refers to who the child’s legal parents are. A child in Illinois could have two mothers or two fathers, or only one legal parent. The term “paternity” is not inclusive enough to cover the range of possibilities when it comes to a child’s parentage. 

You may still hear the old terms used, but these are the legal terms you may read in important documents or in court. 

Call a Kane County Family Law Lawyer

If children are a part of your family law case, Serrano Hanson will help you put them first. Our Geneva family law attorneys are skilled at helping parents develop strong parenting plans even in contentious situations. Call 630-844-8781 for a consultation. 




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