Frequently Asked Questions About Parental Allocation Of Responsibilities
Whether you were married to your child’s other parent or you never married, dissolving your relationship while parenting your child can be devastating. Thankfully, solutions are available, and you deserve to have someone guide you through the process.
At The Law Office of Marjorie Sher, I guide parents in Lake County through matters regarding parental allocation of responsibilities and parenting time formerly known as custody and visitation. I understand the challenges you face, and I can offer guidance to help you make informed decisions about your family.
What Common Misconceptions Might Parents Have?
MYTH – Joint allocation of decision making means that we equally share parenting time of the children.
FACT – There are many aspects of a judgment for allocation of decision making (formerly known as custody). Joint allocation of decision making requires you to decide jointly decisions relative to education, religion, health care and extracurricular activities. Parenting time is a separate issue, and sharing decision making does not mean that you have equal parenting time.
MYTH – If one person was not an active parent during the marriage, they will not be eligible to make decisions regarding the children, nor will he or she receive significant parenting time.
FACT – While there may be an adjustment period and perhaps counseling, the court will generally award parenting time and even some decision making authority to a formerly absent parent.
MYTH – If the father of the child is not listed on the child’s birth certificate, he has no rights or responsibilities to the child.
FACT – If someone is not listed as the father on the birth certificate, it is still possible to establish paternity. Fathers can establish paternity either by agreement or by a DNA test, and in most circumstances are entitled to parenting time once they establish paternity. Mothers seeking child support may also file a petition for adjudication of paternity, and they may request child support if the court determines that a man is the father of the child.
MYTH – If there has never been a child support order, the responsibility to pay child support begins when the court issues an order.
FACT – The Parentage Act of Illinois of 2015 allows the court to award retroactive child support back to the date of the child’s birth if requested by a party. However, the court will consider several factors, including the length of time between the birth and the request.
MYTH – If the father signed a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity (VAP) but now says that he is not the father, the court will vacate the voluntary acknowledgement of paternity.
FACT – A VAP may only be vacated under specific circumstances, and most people do not meet those requirements. If a father wishes to file a motion to vacate the VAP, he must do so within a specific limitation period.
MYTH – The court can divide property and debt if my child’s other parent and I were not married but lived as husband and wife.
FACT – Under the Illinois Parentage Act of 2015, the court can allocate property or debt related to a child. However, the state of Illinois does not acknowledge common law marriage, and courts will not allocate other assets.