In general, prospective divorce or family law clients are fairly certain they know what the term “joint custody” means before they speak with a divorce or family law attorney – knowledge that appeared to be outdated after the massive changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act that took place on January 1, 2015. However, although the term “joint parenting” has replaced “joint custody,” the joint-custody concept survives under the new law, in the view of retired Champaign County Circuit Court Judge Arnold F. Blockman. According to Judge Blockman’s article in the October Illinois Bar Journal, “joint custody” is just as available now as before the enactment of the divorce-law rewrite – despite the creation under the new law of an entirely new vocabulary to describe parenting, he says.
In his article, Blockman explains how the essence of joint custody under the old law lives on under the new labels. “First, what was ‘pure’ joint custody under the old Act (no designation of primary custodial parent and substantially equal visitation time for each parent) [is now called] a joint allocation to both parents of parental responsibilities for all four significant major decisions [education, health, religion, and extra-curricular activities] and substantially equal parenting time for each parent,” he writes.
But even though the court can impose what used to be called “joint custody” without the parents’ agreement, Blockman warns judges to consider the best interests of the children before doing so. “It is like a business with two partners that cannot agree on major business operational issues. It is not likely to be a successful business,” he writes.
To read the full and unedited article from the Illinois Bar Journal, please click here.
Remember, for representation on your divorce or family law needs, including pre-decree divorce matters, parentage cases, post-decree modifications, child support, orders of protection or DCFS matters, please visit http://bennettbangser.com/ or call 312-788-2770 and schedule a consultation with one or both of our talented divorce and family law attorneys, Brad Bennett or Marc Bangser.