Naming a “Custodial Parent” in Illinois

Illinois has now abolished the term “custody” in parentage and dissolution of marriage actions.  Instead, the Court can allocate parental responsibilities for major decisions for minor children to one or both of the parents, including major decision making authority for religion, extra-curricular activities, medical and education.  There is no longer “custody” over a child.  There is a “parenting time” schedule which dictates where the child resides and at what time.  However, in one aspect of Illinois law, a “custodial parent” is required, and that is for the purpose of school enrollment.

Pursuant to 750 ILCS 5/606.10, a parent who is designated as the custodial parent is for the purpose of school enrollment only.  Other statutes require that there is a custodial parent so that the schools know where the child should be enrolled. The party with the majority of parenting time is assumed to be the custodial parent for school enrollment.  However, orders must general state this outright so that the school knows where the child “lives” and can enroll them in the proper school based upon same.  It is illegal to attend a public school in a district other than where the minor child resides, and so schools can be very tough about allowing enrollment without a court order when only one parent tries to register a child.  Thus, it is required to set forth information about these specific provisions in Allocation Judgments and other court orders dealing with allocation of parental responsibilities in Illinois.

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