Determining the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities for Your Child
The allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly known as custody) can greatly impact the life of a child. Further, it can determine just how involved you are in the decision-making process of your child’s life. Whether you are an unmarried father who has recently established paternity or a couple going through a divorce, the following information can help you better understand the allocation of parental responsibilities, including who may be eligible to pursue it and when. You will also learn more about what it is and why it is important.
What Is the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities?
Child-related matters typically involve two aspects: parenting time and the allocation of parental responsibilities. Parenting time is the time that a parent spends with their child. The allocation of parental responsibilities pertains to the decision-making privileges of a parent. For example, a parent with greater allocation may have the final say in where the child goes to school, or whether they attend church or not.
Though parenting time and the allocation of parental responsibilities may coincide with one another, they do not always. In fact, some parents have more parenting time but less allocation of parental responsibilities. Likewise, a parent may have more decision-making power but less parenting time. Each situation is unique and is typically determined by considering the best interests of the child. How it is done depends greatly upon the marital status of the parents.
Unmarried Parents vs. Divorcing Parents
When parents go through a divorce, the allocation of parental responsibilities is generally determined during divorce proceedings. Parents may agree upon a set level of decision-making for each party, can mediate to reach a compromise, or may have the determination made by a judge. Regardless of the method, parenting time is also usually included in this process.
For parents who are unmarried, the process is slightly different. Fathers must first establish paternity before pursuing an allocation of parental responsibilities. Further, parenting time may or may not be included in this determination; the situation will depend greatly upon the current circumstances, and whether the father already has parenting time established. An attorney can help you better understand how to exercise your rights as an unmarried father.
Special Circumstances and the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities
Not all parents who pursue an allocation of parental responsibilities are natural parents of a child. In fact, stepparents may also have the right to pursue such rights to the child. Instances in which this might happen could include the death or incapacitation of a natural parent. If you have questions about pursuing an allocation of parental responsibilities as a stepparent, contact an experienced family law attorney for assistance.
Contact Our Kane County Family Law Attorneys
With more than 210 years of combined experience, The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. has the knowledge and experience needed to deal with your unique family law case. Committed to protecting the best interests of your child, we can aggressively represent you in your child-related case. Learn more by scheduling a personalized consultation with our Kane County family law attorneys. Call 630-462-9500 today.