Chicago Attorneys Answer Joint and Sole Allocation FAQs

What do joint and sole allocation mean?

Do Illinois courts impose allocation arrangements?

What does the court consider when determining the "best interest of the child?

Does having joint allocation mean our child has to live with both parents?

Is joint allocation better than sole allocation?

How can we be sure what allocation arrangement is best for our family?




Q: What do joint and sole allocation mean?

A: Joint and sole allocation usually relate to significant decision-making for the child as opposed to the physical residence of the child. Joint legal allocation in Chicago requires that parents work together, make decisions together, and communicate effectively. The primary decisions at issue relate to the education, healthcare, extracurricular activities, and religion of any minor children. Whether a parent has sole allocation or joint allocation relating to decision-making, it will not affect the parenting time schedule for the other parent.

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Q: Do Illinois courts impose allocation arrangements?

A: If parents cannot agree on an allocation arrangement, and do not come forward with information indicating otherwise, Illinois courts assume that each parent is fit and acts in the best interest of the child or children. It is always best to come to an allocation arrangement with your former spouse so as to avoid a potentially unfavorable outcome.

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Q: What does the court consider when determining the "best interest of the child?

A: The court determines what allocation arrangement is in the child's best interest (in the absence of a parental agreement) using the following factors:

  1. The wishes of the child's parent or parents;
  2. The wishes of the child;
  3. The needs of the child;
  4. The child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;
  5. The mental and physical health of everyone involved;
  6. The ability of the parents to cooperate to make decisions, or the level of conflict between the parties that may affect their ability to share decision-making;
  7. The level of each parent’s participation in past significant decision-making with respect to the child;
  8. Any prior agreement or course of conduct between the parents relating to decision-making with respect to the child;
  9. The distance between the parents’ residences, the cost and difficulty of transporting the child, each parent’s and the child’s daily schedules, and the ability of the parents to cooperate in the arrangement;
  10. Any physical violence, or threat of, by the parent directed against the child;
  11. The occurrence of abuse against the child or other member of the child’s household;
  12. The willingness of each parent to maintain a close relationship between the child and other parent;
  13. Whether one of the parents is a sex offender; and
  14. If a parent is in the U.S. Armed Forces, the terms of their military family-care plan.

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Q: Does having joint allocation mean our child has to live with both parents?

A: No, it does not. As long as both parents are fulfilling the joint allocation agreement and are working together when making decisions about their child, the child may live full-time with one parent, if that is the residential arrangement both parents agree to.

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Q: Is joint allocation better than sole allocation?

A: If you and your former spouse are comfortable discussing important decisions concerning your child and can come to an agreement, then joint allocation may be the best option for your family. However, if you are not comfortable working with your former spouse it may be best that one of you have sole allocation of decision-making for issues concerning healthcare, education, extracurricular activities, and religion of the child or children.

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Q: How can we be sure what allocation arrangement is best for our family?

A: Deciding who will be the decision-maker for your child or children is a very important decision. The involvement of both parents is always preferred, but not always possible. Speaking with an Illinois family law attorney can help you and your former spouse make the right decision. Our dedicated attorneys at Nottage and Ward, LLP, will work with you and your former spouse openly and professionally to determine the best allocation arrangement for your family. Call us for an initial consultation at (312) 332-2915.

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