Fulfilling A Child’s Needs By Allocating Childrearing Responsibilities
When parents choose to divorce, the custodial and noncustodial parent may feel that they have won and lost something respectively. Unfortunately, this viewpoint is fraught with fault and detracts either parent from focusing on the best interests of the child. From the child’s point of view, except for visitation time and overnights with the noncustodial parent, things should continue as they would have if both parents were living together and giving the child the support and nurturing they deserve.
The child did not ask for or cause the divorce, and they still need to eat, go to school and live somewhere. With more than four decades of family law experience, attorney Arnold Goldstein of Goldstein Law Offices has the skills needed to help you and your child’s other parent reach an agreement regarding the care and upbringing of your child.
During the time the custodial and noncustodial parent spend with the child, they must perform various caretaking functions. The court defines these as tasks that involve interaction with the child or that supervise, direct or arrange interactions with or for the child. Caretaking functions include:
- Fulfilling the child’s nutritional needs
- Administering appropriate discipline
- Attending to developmental needs
- Providing moral and ethical guidance
While the state statute on custody does not limit major decisions to be determined in a parenting agreement, Illinois family law courts place particular emphasis on childrearing decisions related to:
- Education: Parents must choose what type of education, private or public, and where to enroll their child, which can be affected by where the custodial parent lives. Parents need to consider the potential for long commutes and high tuition costs when making decisions regarding education.
- Health care: Parents must decide who chooses the doctor, which parent will take the child and who has authority over medication and courses of treatment.
- Religious training: This aspect designates how parents will apply religion to the child’s upbringing. A child may benefit from positive religious teachings, but a child’s exposure to violent or abusive religious training should be limited.
- Extracurricular activities: Parents must choose which extracurricular activities their child will participate in. The overall costs and time commitments should be considered.
When parents cannot agree on the allocation of parental responsibilities for all matters except emergencies, they must go through mediation to attempt to reach an agreement. Failing that, the matter then goes before the courts.