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Criteria For Who Will Be The Residential Parent In Illinois

Who Will Be The Residential Parent?

In 1986, Mr. Kulerski was appointed by the Bar Relations Subcommittee of the Domestic Relations Advisory Committee of the Domestic Relations Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County to serve as an Attorney for the Child and as a Guardian ad Litem. Subsequently, he was appointed by the Court to represent the children in more than forty different, contested custody or visitation cases and has also represented many clients in various custody and visitation cases. Our Divorce Act mandates the Court to determine the best interests of the children in deciding which parent will have more parenting time.

As we stated earlier, Illinois’ new law requires that the parents have a parenting plan and an allocation of parental responsibilities. This will happen voluntarily or the court will decide these two categories. Even though the parents will be co-parents, it is not unusual even under the new law for one parent to be what we used to call the “residential or custodial parent”. This parent is awarded parenting time with the children, except for the times that the other parent is with them. In this scenario, and in effect, the parent that is awarded the general parenting time is the equivalent of the former custodial parent, and the parent with the specific parenting time is the equivalent of the parent with visitation.

It is our belief that the following list of questions provides an excellent guide to the basic criteria that the court will apply in determining the extent of each parent’s parenting time.

Who gets the child up in the morning?

  • Who dresses child?
  • Who fixes child’s breakfast?
  • Who makes lunches?
  • Who drives to school/day care?
  • Who knows sizes of clothing, shoes?
  • Who knows names and addresses of child’s doctors/ health care providers?
  • Who takes child to doctor, dentist, etc.?
  • Who prepares dinners?
  • Who shops for the child?
  • Who helps child with homework?
  • Who attends school conferences? What are the teacher’s names?
  • Who attends school programs/PTO meetings, etc.?
  • Who goes on field trips?
  • Who signs report cards?
  • Who reads to child? What books?
  • Who plays games with child? What games?
  • Who knows names of child’s best friends?
  • Who attends child’s sporting/ extracurricular activities?
  • Who coaches?
  • Who drives for events?
  • Who bathes the child?
  • Who helps with toilet training?
  • Who puts child to bed?
  • To whom does child go when hurt, when wakes up in the middle of the night, when sick?
  • Who takes child for haircuts?
  • Who takes child to scout meetings/ Who is scout master?
  • Who stays home when child is sick?
  • Who takes child to church, Sunday school, etc.?
  • Who supervises child’s household chores?
  • Who supervises television watching, movies, attended, etc.?
  • Who talks to child about problems?
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