Chicago Joint Allocation Lawyers
Determining parental allocation, especially during the divorce process, can be emotionally taxing. You and your former spouse may have your child’s best interest at heart, but what you feel is best may be wildly different from what your former spouse feels. In most cases, finding common ground and working toward a joint allocation plan is best for everyone.
Getting on the same page as your former spouse may not be easy, however. You need to be sure to protect your parental allocation rights to ensure your future relationship with your child. It will always be in your best interest to seek out an experienced Chicago parental allocation lawyer, who can help protect your time with your child. To speak with the excellent team at Nottage and Ward, LLP, call us at (312) 332-2915. We are ready to help.
Joint allocation of parental responsibilities relating to decision-making allows both parents to maintain the power to make significant decisions for their child, including, but not limited to, the child’s healthcare, education, religion, and extracurricular activities. The parents may have joint allocation even if the child lives full-time with only one parent.
Joint allocation may be the best option for your family if you and your spouse can discuss important decisions about your child and come to agreements. For instance, an allocated parent may have to make decisions about where the child will go to school, other educational decisions, what type of medical care he or she will receive, and decisions regarding the child's religious upbringing. There may, however, be reasons that you and your spouse cannot work together. If this is the case, you or your spouse may decide that one of you should have sole allocation of your child.
The allocation of significant decision-making responsibilities is based on a determination of the child’s best interests. Under Illinois law, the court must presume that it is best for the child to see both parents as much as possible. Whether joint allocation or sole allocation is the arrangement, the court will attempt to set up parenting time so that the child has the most possible access to both parents. This access will only be restricted if being with one of the parents seriously endangers the child's physical, mental, emotional, or moral well-being.
People often assume that the mother will automatically be considered for sole allocation, but that is not the case in Illinois. Here, the question of child custody is gender neutral. The court will base its decision on who is believed to be the best caretaker for the child. Oftentimes, this will be one or both parents, although if neither parent is fit, allocation may be given to a third party.
When it comes to deciding joint allocation, the first question that a court will ask is whether the parents have a parenting plan that they agree on. It is possible for both parents to have the same goals for the child and be able to decide on a joint parenting plan without the court’s interference. The court will still get the final say on whether the plan is approved or not, but if the plan seems fair to each parent and is in the best interests of the child, then the court will likely approve it.
If the parents are unable to come to an agreement, then the court will have to step in. The judge may choose to appoint a mental health specialist to evaluate each parent to get a good understanding of their parenting abilities. The judge may also appoint a lawyer to represent the best interests of the child; that way, there is always someone who is able to argue for the child’s best interests.
Either way, the court will base its decision on several factors. These include:
- The wishes of the parents
- The wishes of the child
- The child’s needs
- The relationship between the child and each parent
- The relationship of the child and any siblings
- Whether the child will be required to move or change schools
- Each parent’s ability to cooperate and make joint decisions
- Any prior parenting pans or agreements between the parents
- The risk of violence or abuse
- Each parent’s wiliness to support the child’s relationship with the other parent
Ultimately, the court will make its decision on allocation based on what is best for the child. If one parent is proven to be abusive or neglectful, then it is unlikely he or she will be given parental allocation, sole or joint. However, if both parents seem fit to take care of the child, then the judge will likely rule in favor of joint allocation. Children do best when they have both parents in their life, playing active roles. This means that joint allocation will almost always be preferential to the court.
If one parent's violent or abusive behavior endangers a child, the other parent may file for an Emergency Order of Protection. The order keeps the child away from the dangerous parent until safeguarding can be put in place by the court. Unfortunately, some parents use the Emergency Order of Protection to make it look as though the other parent is dangerous, believing this will make the judge award sole allocation to the filing parent. Whether you need an Emergency Order of Protection to safeguard your child or you need to fight an Emergency Order of Protection that was filed improperly, an experienced Illinois lawyer will establish the facts and protect your rights and interests in court.
If you are currently going through a contentious divorce, you may not want to share your child with your ex. This is not uncommon. In some cases, where one parent is abusive, neglectful, or lives too far away to properly parent without uprooting the child’s life, joint allocation is simply not an option. The difficult truth is that the court will want to turn to joint allocation first, as it is usually seen as the best option for the child.
In order to be awarded sole allocation, you must either get your former spouse to agree to it, or you must be able to show the court that your former spouse would not be fit as a parent. This is not an easy process. It will require clear evidence, and a well-worded argument. This can be difficult when tensions are running high. Your best chance of receiving sole allocation is working with an experienced attorney who can help you through the process and make your case clear to the judge.
On the other hand, your former spouse may be seeking sole allocation, while you want joint allocation. While the judge is more likely to be on the side of joint allocation, it is still possible that your former spouse will be able to successfully argue against giving you parental allocation of your child. You will need to present a case for joint allocation to the judge, which will also require a certain degree of evidence and legal expertise.
In any child allocation dispute, it is important to keep the lines of communication open as much as possible. Negotiating allocation with your spouse usually produces the agreement both spouses prefer. The Chicago allocation lawyers at Nottage and Ward, LLP, are experienced negotiators with more than 30 years of experience in divorce law, including allocation. We will stand firm on your side to help you reach the allocation agreement you and your child need, whether in negotiation or in court. Contact Nottage and Ward, LLP, at (312) 332-2915 to schedule an initial consultation and learn whether our representation is right for your needs.
- Joint And Sole Allocation FAQs
- The Distinction between Joint Custody and Sole Custody in Illinois
- What Factors Are Considered in an Illinois Child Custody Case?
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