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Child Custody & Visitation The Legal Guidance You Need and the Personal Attention You Deserve

Child Custody Attorneys in Chicago

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities: Decision-Making & Parenting Time

The Chicago child custody lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C. realize that, oftentimes, the most emotional and challenging aspect of a divorce or family law case is addressing the child-related matters.

Gone are the days when one or both parents were awarded “custody.” In 2016, the Illinois legislature replaced the terms “custody” and “visitation” with “allocation of parental responsibilities” and “parenting time”. As such, the two main areas addressed by the allocation of parental responsibilities are (1) decision-making, and (2) parenting time. In any case involving children – whether the parents were married or not – these issues must be addressed.


Give us a call at (312) 487-2795 or contact us online to schedule your free 20-minute consultation.


How the Court Determines Custody in Illinois

There are four main areas of decision-making that must be resolved before a final Allocation Judgment (a formal parenting agreement) can be signed by the judge, namely:

  • Education, including the choice of school, tutors, and the use of specialized services;
  • Health care, including decisions pertaining to medical, dental, vision, and psychological needs of the child;
  • Religion; and
  • Extracurricular Activities.

Illinois Parenting Time Guidelines (Visitation)

Parenting time generally relates to in-person parenting time, including school year (“regular parenting time”), summer, and holiday parenting time, but it may also include electronic parenting time. Additional considerations can be made for the right of first refusal (when one parent is unavailable to care of the children during their designated parenting time), and in certain circumstances, restrictions to parenting time may be appropriate.

The Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C. believes that it is important to structure parenting time to meet the needs of each individual family.

Both the allocation of decision-making responsibilities and parenting time are determined based on the “best interests of the child.” This assessment requires the court to consider numerous factors, including but not limited to:

  • The respective wishes of the parents and the child;
  • The history of care-taking functions;
  • The child’s adjustment to his/her current home, school, and community; and
  • The willingness of each parent to facilitate and encourage the child’s relationship with the other parent.

In certain, limited circumstances, third parties, such as grandparents and step-parents, can petition the court for certain rights, including decision-making and visitation. If you believe this situation may apply to you, please contact our office.

Consult a Child Custody Lawyer in Chicago Today

Our team of attorneys and legal staff work with our clients to achieve outcomes designed for long-term success and positive parent-child relationships. In many instances, parties wish to settle child-related matters amicably. Mediation can be a crucial component for resolving child-related disputes, with certain exceptions in cases of domestic violence or when one or more parties are suffering from addiction or mental illness.

The Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C. is aware that not all parties can resolve their differences through settlement negotiations or mediation. Our Chicago child custody lawyers are skilled litigators with the ability to zealously advocate for their clients in the courtroom. This may include enlisting the experience of experts, such as forensic evaluators, mental health experts, or substance abuse evaluators, to achieve their clients’ goals and promote the best interests of the children.

The Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C. has a dynamic team of skilled and experienced lawyers for child-related issues. Our child custody attorneys in Chicago have a successful track record for both settling and litigating contentious matters pertaining to the allocation of parental responsibilities, including both pre- and post-decree matters. We are focused on achieving our clients’ desired results while ensuring that the best interests of the children are protected.


Contact us online or call (312) 487-2795 to get started on your child custody case in Chicago.


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Our Attorneys have a Long History

of Successfully Obtaining the Results Our Clients Expect
  • “Always responsive, always available to you, patient, tough on the opposing team. Responsible, very involved - this is the man you want in your corner during this rough time. Thank you Jonathan.”

    - Previous Client
  • “I agree with the other reviewers. My therapist saw Melissa in action while she was a divorce mediator and was impressed. She recommended her to me as part of my safety plan before leaving for an ...”

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  • “Hi, Melissa Caballero is wonderful to work with, my X was trying to pursue a fraudulent protection order against me to tarnish my image. Melissa was able to transfer this case into divorce case and ...”

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  • “I contacted Melissa to discuss post-decree custody issues. I wasn’t sure what my options were. My relationship with my ex wasn’t great, but I also wanted to do everything in my power to maintain any ...”

    - Kelly
  • “Once I met Melissa, I knew that I had found the right person to represent me during my divorce. I felt comfortable with her from the start, as she explained what I could expect throughout the process. ...”

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