Mary J. Rocco 


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One Lincoln Center

18W140 Butterfield Road Suite 1500

Oakbrook Terrace, IL  60181

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities


Starting January 1, 2016 the Illinois legislature has removed the term “Custody” and replaced it with “Allocation of Parental Responsibilities”.  Under this new law, the courts provide two kinds of parental responsibilities to parents:

Significant Decision-Making Responsibility: this is who makes the important decisions in the child’s life such as education, healthcare, extra-curricular activities, religion, etc.

Parenting Time: (Previously referred to as Visitation): this is the amount of time the child spends with both parents, including with whom the child lives.

The court will usually give both parents parenting time, but it is not always equal and the child will likely live majority with one parent and have regular contact with the other.  If a parent is not given significant decision-making responsibilities they still have the right to parenting time with the child and will have to pay child support.

There are four ways that you can ask the court for parental responsibilities:

  1. Divorce or Dissolution of Marriage Proceeding
  2. A Parentage (Paternity) Petition
  3. Order of Protection 
  4. A petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (formally custody)

Parentage (Paternity)

Parentage establishes the legal relationship between a parent and a child. This is important in order to have standing in court to ask for parental responsibilities (custody), parenting time (visitation) or child support.

Many Birth Fathers believe that simply executing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) when a child is born grants custodial rights to a Father. In Illinois, this is not the case. A VAP does not provide any protection for the father as it is only used to initiate child support. In order for a Father to obtain custodial rights or visitation rights when a child is born out of wedlock an order must be entered with the court declaring that a biological relationship to that child exists.

Grandparents Visitation

In Illinois, Grandparents, Great-Grandparents and siblings can petition the court for visitation of a child. The court will consider these cases when a parent is unfairly keeping the grandparents from seeing the child and at least one of the following exists:

  • The other parent is deceased or missing
  • The other parent is declared legally unfit
  • The other parent is incarcerated
  • Both parents live apart and at least one parent agree to the visitation

Child Support

In Illinois a supporting parent must pay child support. The amount to be paid is determined by the percentage of his/her net income. The percentage goes up according to the number of children being supported. 
Health insurance costs should also be included as part of a child support order.  Some courts may also enter orders for either parent to pay for school expenses, such as college tuition.


A parent who has been granted the majority of parenting time cannot move more than 25 miles from the child’s original home if it is in Cook, DuPage, McHenry, Kane, Lake or Will Counties  (50 miles if still in Illinois but not one of the above counties); or the new home is out of state.

If a parent plans to relocate they must file a “notice of intent to relocate” and give a copy to the other parent at least 60 days before the planned moved. If the other parent does not agree you must ask the court for permission to relocate.

To obtain more information on qualifying for and/or receive assistance on any of these legal issues please contact our office at (630) 780 – 8242 and we will be happy to help.