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Divorce Q&A: Why Isn’t There Custody Anymore?


There are many terms common to the divorce process. Alimony, also known as maintenance, is one of them. Another is custody and in many divorces or divorces depicted in popular culture, it’s one of the most contentious issues.

In Illinois, custody no longer exists.

Instead, there’s something called parental responsibility and it’s removing some of the contentious emotions from the divorce process. If you’re just considering divorce and haven’t yet talked to a Naperville divorce attorney, you likely haven’t heard of the term.

In this article, we’re going to provide a brief overview of what parental responsibility is, how it works in your divorce, and what you need to know.

What is Parental Responsibility?

Custody typically covered who makes decisions regarding the children as well as where the children live. In previous divorces, many parents shared joint custody (meaning both could make decisions regarding the children) and one parent would be named the “residential custodial parent” (meaning the children lived with that parent).

Parental responsibility is different.

Parental responsibilities are responsibilities relating to the children’s education, health, religion, and extracurricular activities. In most cases, parents still share this decision-making power meaning that they must agree on the areas of the children’s lives listed above.

Regardless of a case, parents will almost always share the decision-making responsibility for day-to-day decisions when they are enjoying parenting time (i.e. visitation).

How Does This Affect my Illinois Divorce? 

While the idea of parental responsibility is to remove the contentious emotions from the divorce process, little changes with regards to procedure. Part of your divorce will include the entrance of a parental responsibility judgment that clearly allocates parenting time and responsibilities. This is what you must follow after the divorce, otherwise your spouse may take you back to court to enforce the judgment.

If you and your spouse fundamentally disagree and argue about many issues in the divorce, this new terminology will be helpful. You won’t feel compelled to argue about custody to “win” the case and will often be able to focus on the best interests of your children and yourself as the case proceeds.

Contact Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. for Additional Information Regarding Parental Responsibility and Divorce

The recent changes to Illinois divorce law can be confusing, especially for parents who know little about the divorce process. Retaining an experienced attorney can make all the difference for your case. At Lawrence R. Surinak, Ltd., we rely on over 35 years of experience to keep you informed and involved in your case from beginning to end.

Take advantage of your free, 30-minute consultation by contacting us at 630-470-9990 or filling in our online form to request an appointment. We look forward to speaking with you and offering guidance on how parental responsibility and other changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Of Marriage Act will affect your case.

Concentrated on Family Law

Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. is a law firm concentrating solely on family law and has served clients in DuPage, Will, Kane, and Kendall counties for over 35 years.

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About Attorney Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd.

Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. is a law firm concentrating solely on family law and has served clients in DuPage, Will, Kane, and Kendall counties for over 35 years.

We continue to work with clients in Naperville, Wheaton, Lisle, Oswego, Downers Grove, and the surrounding areas to provide one-on-one support and attention that will help you through this difficult time.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at any time. We look forward to offering our expertise and support to you throughout your case and after.