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Protecting Your Parental Rights During a Child Custody Case

Understanding the Importance of Protecting Your Parental Rights

Parental rights grant parents the authority to make all important decisions regarding their child’s education, healthcare, religion, and extracurricular involvement throughout their upbringing. It is important to protect your parental rights, as it allows you to carry out your role as guardian of your children. Giving up your parental rights cedes your chance at advocating for your child’s upbringing. At Strieker Law Firm, we understand the complexities of child custody cases and have put together everything you need to know to feel confident in protecting your parental rights.

Know Your Parental Rights in Child Custody

Parental arrangements are determined by the parents’ relationships with the child, as well as the child’s age, needs, and preferences. There are two common rights all parents should know about parenting arrangements, including joint and sole rights and responsibilities, before proceeding with child custody cases. As part of the allocation of parental responsibilities process, the court will set a parenting time schedule regardless of the situation.

Joint decision-making rights grant each parent an equal say in all important decisions relating to education, medical needs, religion, and extracurricular involvement. The child is allowed to live at both residences but can primarily live with one parent and visit the other.

Sole decision-making rights authorize one parent to make all major decisions regarding their child’s health, education, religion, and extracurricular activities. The parent awarded sole parental rights may also become the primary residence of the child, while the other parent is granted visitation rights and often held responsible for child support payments.

Since the 2016 amendments to the Illinois divorce statutes, the Court can also now customize its allocation of parental responsibilities among the four categories, awarding joint or sole for each category, versus it being a “blanket” designation. This means that one parent could have sole authority over education while the other parent has sole over medical, with the remaining categories being joint or any endless combination of responsibility-sharing.

Setting Up a Parenting Time Schedule

We understand that setting up a parenting time schedule that accommodates both parents can be difficult and time-consuming. At Strieker Law, we have attorneys specializing in child custody cases who can help you create the perfect parenting schedule for your individual needs and situation. Once both parents come to an agreed-upon schedule, the court will review it for approval. If parents are not able to agree on a schedule, the court will create one for them.

As part of the process, the Court will likely send parents to mediation first in order to see whether the parents can create their own parenting time schedule with the hold of an experienced mediator. In other cases, the Court decides to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem to perform a factual investigation in that case, as well as submit a written recommendation to the Court on how the parents should share decision-making and parenting time. Other times, in particularly more challenging custody cases, psychological experts may be employed to assist the Court in determining what type of parenting arrangement is in the best interests of the minor children.

Maintain Your Parental Rights

Navigating parental rights cases can be complex and overwhelming. Your parental rights are worth advocating for as they determine your involvement in your child’s life. Hiring a lawyer who specializes in child custody will allow you to feel confident in the outcome of your case and relieve the stress you are feeling. Strieker Law Firm understands the complexities of parental right termination cases and has successfully aided in protecting parents’ rights throughout the St. Louis and Metro East area. If you require legal advice or support, contact us today.

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