2 N. Riverside Plaza,
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: 312-897-2010

Crystal Lake

333 Commerce Dr.
Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Phone: 815-455-3000


1990 Algonquin Rd.
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: 847-637-5140


2 N. Riverside Plaza, Ste. 1830
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: 312.897.2010

Crystal Lake

333 Commerce Dr.
Ste. 900
Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Phone: 815.455.3000


1990 Algonquin Rd.
Ste. 240
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: 847.637.5140


7047 East Greenway Parkway
Suite 250
Scottsdale, AZ 85254
Phone: 847-637-5140

Additional offices in Warrenville, Naperville, Saint Charles, and Lake Forest

Mchenry Child Custody

Child custody may have changed as far as terminology, but parents going through a divorce will encounter many of the same issues. Illinois now uses the updated term allocation of parental responsibilities to refer to the important decisions on how to raise the child. Most divorcing parents are in agreement that they want what is best for the child, but there can be some disconnect on achieving that goal. Fortunately, there are multiple options for handling child custody in Illinois.
At Bruning & Associates, P.C., we have the experience and knowledge to guide you in making informed decisions regarding child custody options. Our team will be at your side to protect your rights as a parent, so please contact our firm today. We can set up a no-cost consultation with a McHenry child custody attorney, and some general information may also be helpful.

Overview of Illinois Parental Responsibilities Laws

Parents have both rights and obligations with respect to minor children, and these are not extinguished through a divorce. Custody is a focal point, but there is more to the concept than where the child lives. Allocation of parental responsibilities involves how parents handle decision-making regarding the child, and Illinois law prefers a joint custody situation in most cases. Both parents have input regarding:

  • Education
  • Health care
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Religion
  • Travel and entertainment
  • Many other important decisions

Child custody will become an issue as soon as you file for divorce since parents will need a temporary arrangement for parental responsibilities during the proceedings. All determinations in this area must serve the child’s best interests, a set of statutory factors designed to ensure the care, comfort, and other needs of the child are met. The child’s best interests are paramount to the parents’ rights, though parents are not left out.

Factors include:

  • The mental and physical health of all parties
  • The child’s wishes, if appropriate considering age and maturity
  • Each parent’s relationship with the child
  • The parents’ ability to cooperate and support each other, compared to the level of conflict that may affect shared decision making

Allocation of parental responsibilities also impacts other aspects of raising the child. Though parents may have equal right to participate in decision making, the child will primarily reside with one parent for school and convenience purposes. The non-residential parent will have visitation rights, now known as parenting time. Illinois child support guidelines determine the details, but the nonresidential parent will also usually pay support. 

Strategies for Custody & Parental Responsibilities

Though the divorce case is an official legal proceeding and child custody decisions are subject to a judge’s approval, there are ways to resolve these issues outside of the courtroom. Our attorneys at Bruning & Associates, P.C. will be at your side to help you navigate the three options for allocating parental responsibilities:
1. Parenting Plan Agreements: Parents are encouraged to compromise on child custody through an agreed-upon parenting plan, which should also include details on visitation. The benefits are avoiding a trial, faster time to resolution, and reduced legal fees. Plus, parents can be creative in crafting a solution that works for their lifestyles. The judge will still review the parenting plan agreement, but will usually approve a custody arrangement that serves the child’s best interests.
2. Mediation: When parents cannot compromise on some or all custody issues, they can choose to participate in mediation; in these cases, the court will often order it. During the process, the parties and lawyers sit down with a mediation professional who has special training. Through productive conversations, parents can get closer together on an agreement.
3. Contested Child Custody Hearings: When disputes over parental responsibilities remain, the court will conduct a trial. The judge will be focusing on the child’s best interests factors, so it is essential to have solid evidence to support your position.

Post-Divorce Child Custody Issues

Regardless of how the parties work out allocation of parental responsibilities, the details in the final divorce decree are legally binding on the parties. Parents cannot unilaterally make changes, and they cannot even alter the child custody arrangement without approval from the court. As such, you may be facing issues in the years after your divorce, especially for parents with young children. Our attorneys at Bruning & Associates, P.C. have extensive experience with most common custody disputes, including:


A child custody order has the effect of law, so a parent might need to take enforcement action when the other violates the terms. One or two minor slip-ups may not be a concern, but repeated misconduct could lead the court to alter the allocation of parental responsibilities.


Each parent’s situation is likely to change over the years after their divorce. Because there is a binding child custody order in effect, the legal remedy is modification. The parent seeking to alter the arrangement must file a petition alleging a substantial change in circumstances, along with solid evidence demonstrating why the modification is in the child’s best interests. The other parent will have the opportunity to contest changes and request that the judge allow the status quo to remain effective.

Petitions for Relocation

When the modification of custody related to one parent moving to a new residence, a special set of rules applies. Long-distance and out-of-state relocations require approval from the court because they have such a significant impact on parental responsibilities and visitation. 

Speak to a McHenry Child Custody Lawyer for Free

A summary of Illinois laws on allocational of parental responsibilities is useful, but there are many additional details you need to know for a real-life case. To avoid putting your parental rights at risk, it is wise to retain skilled legal representation. 

You can count on the McHenry child custody lawyers at Bruning & Associates, P.C. to support you with parenting plan agreements, mediation, and contested hearings. Please contact our firm today to schedule a complimentary consultation with a child custody attorney today. In addition to McHenry, we have several offices conveniently located nearby in Chicago, Schaumburg, and Crystal Lake, Illinois. 

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