The first of the three principal areas that we have to make decisions in is education. That’s going to be the choice of schools, the choice of tutors, are the kids going to receive a public education from a public facility or are they going to be enrolled in a private school. The education decisions are always significant ones. Health care can include things like medical decisions, obviously, but also dental care or physiological needs and treatments for the kids. Religious upbringing is oftentimes a significant dispute between the parents. The court will often look, as it attempts to sort the religious issues out, at past conduct of the parents. Many times in Illinois, the court will say that as far as the religious upbringing is concerned, if it’s your weekend to exercise parenting time, then it probably makes sense for the child or the children to go ahead and practice whatever faith that particular parent enjoys on their weekend. It keeps the court out of having to make those kinds of decisions. We’ve picked up a fourth area, with some of the recent amendments to the statutes, and that includes extracurricular activities.
How many activities are the kids going to be involved in at one time; are they going to be involved in extracurricular activities at all; how are we going to choose which parent is going to be responsible for taking the kids; can you force the other parent to take your child to an extracurricular activity on a day that he or she is enjoying parenting time. There’s a lot of significant decision-making that goes on, and the legislature has really facilitated the opportunity for both parents to have a voice in those significant decisions.
Chuck Roberts is family lawyer at Momkus McCluskey Roberts, LLC, one of the largest law firms in DuPage County, Illinois.