What Does Primary Custodial Parent Mean?

What Does Primary Custodial Parent Mean?

By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC

Most parents have firm ideas about how to raise their children and want to be as active and involved in their lives as possible. Unfortunately, getting a divorce can wreak havoc with your plans, particularly when it comes to sharing child custody with your former spouse. Depending on the circumstances, Gordon & Perlut, LLC’s child custody lawyers in Chicago may be able to arrange to have you named as your child’s primary custodian, granting you the majority share of time with them and the authority to make important decisions on their behalf.

The Role of Primary Custodial Parents in Chicago Parenting Plans

In Chicago and throughout the state of Illinois, parental rights are allocated between the parties involved in child custody cases through the use of parenting plans. In a divorce or in situations where parents are unmarried and living apart, the court may approve a joint parenting plan or name one of the parents as the child’s primary custodian. This means that:

  • The child will spend much of their time in the custodial parent’s home, with visitation on weekends, holidays, and school breaks or other special occasions negotiated with the other parent.
  • The primary custodial parent will be responsible for the child’s day-to-day care, including providing food and clothing, taking them to school or the doctor, and participating in extracurricular activities.
  • The primary custodial parent generally has the right to receive child support from the other parent.
  • The primary custodial parent will sometimes have the sole authority to make important decisions on the child’s behalf, such as in regards to their medical care, education, and religious upbringing. This is what we used to call “sole custody”.

When one party is named primary custodial parent, it does not automatically mean that the other parent has no rights. Visitation and other arrangements will depend on all the circumstances involved in the case, and decision making is another issue the court needs to decide.

Factors in Naming One Party the Primary Custodial Parent

The court’s primary objective in child custody cases is protecting the child’s best interest. While children are generally better off having both parents active and involved in their lives, there are circumstances where custody rights should be limited. Under the Illinois parental responsibilities Statutes, factors that may influence naming one party as the child’s primary custodial parent include:

  • Each parent’s current and prior relationship with the child.
  • Each parent’s ability to nurture the child and meet their need.
  • Each parent’s work schedule, as well as the child’s schedule regarding school and extracurricular activities.
  • The proximity of the parent’s homes.
  • Their ability to cooperate with each other.
  • Any factors that could put the child at risk, such as accusations of domestic violence or drug and alcohol addiction.

Discuss Your Options with Our Child Custody Lawyers in Chicago

When it comes to protecting you and your children, you can count on Gordon & Perlut, LLC. to act as strong legal advocates on your behalf. To discuss your options regarding child custody, call or contact our child custody lawyers in Chicago online and request a consultation today.