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What are Parental Responsibilities?

 Posted on December 08, 2023 in Child Custody

IL custody lawyerParental responsibilities include making decisions, providing care, and financially supporting the child. These responsibilities are allocated between the parents during a divorce or child custody case. Just as parenting time must be split between the parents, so must these responsibilities. The concept of parental responsibility used to be referred to as “legal custody.” The parent who could sign a medical consent form or choose their child’s school was said to have “legal custody” regardless of which parent the child was physically with at the time. Now we might say “medical decision-making responsibility” and “responsibility to place the child in an appropriate school.” While the wording has changed, the general effect has not. It is very important to be represented by a qualified Rolling Meadows, IL, divorce attorney if you have a child custody case. 

Parental Responsibilities to be Addressed in a Parenting Plan 

A parenting plan is a comprehensive set of rules or agreements regarding how separated or divorced parents will continue to raise their children jointly. Some of the parental responsibilities that should be allocated in your parenting plan include:

  • Medical decisions - It should be very clear in your parenting plan whether one or both parents have the right to make decisions about the child’s medical or mental health care. Often, both parents share this responsibility in some capacity. A parent who has shown poor decision-making harmful to the child in this area may be stripped of this responsibility.
  • Religious upbringing - If the parents are of the same religion, they will likely share the responsibility to make decisions about the child’s religious training. They may each take the child to their own place of worship when they have custody on days of service. When the parents are of different religions, it may need to be established which parent is in charge of directing the child’s religious life. 
  • Directing education - Parents now have more say than ever in where their child should attend school. Parents do not always agree on what kind of educational model is best for their children. One may want to homeschool the child, fearful of gun violence in schools. The other may think the child needs the socialization that comes with attending school in person. One parent may strongly feel that the child should attend a religious school, while the other supports the child’s wish to attend a performing arts school. It is important for the parenting plan to address which parent has the final say in these instances.

Parents who disagree often benefit from mediation, which can help them understand each other’s viewpoints and potentially compromise. 

Contact an Arlington Heights, IL, Child Custody Lawyer 

Law Offices of Donald J. Cosley is committed to helping parents through their child custody cases. Don Cosley, an experienced Cook County child custody attorney, will advocate on your behalf during all mediation sessions or court proceedings. Contact us at 847-253-3100 for a free initial consultation. 

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