While divorce is difficult on many levels, dealing with the rights and responsibilities of children has the potential to be the most difficult part of the entire process. In the modern courtroom, a co-parenting situation is the most common way child custody, or, as it is known in Illinois, “parental responsibilities”, is settled. This is because there are a myriad of benefits to co-parenting for the child, and the duty of the family law courtroom is to make decisions regarding what is best for the child. However, particularly if you and your ex-spouse have a rocky relationship, you may be thinking about pursuing sole parental responsibility. However, according to FindLaw, sole parental responsibility is very rarely given and only in dire circumstances. 

Essentially, if a parent has sole parental responsibilities, that means that parent is completely in charge of the child in a legal sense and the child tends to reside solely with that parent. However, the non-custodial parent may also have visitation, or “parenting time” allocated to him or her. 

In the past, it was commonly assumed that women would end up with sole parental responsibility after a divorce, but research has proven that both parents being involved in raising children is beneficial for the children, even if those parents do not live together. 

The main exception to the co-parenting norm is if one parent is involved with drugs or alcohol or has a history of violence. If this is the case, co-parenting would clearly not be in the best interest of the child. However, in most cases sole parental responsibility will not be allocated.