When Illinois co-parents disagree about a child’s needs

On Behalf of | Feb 18, 2024 | Custody |

Parents in Illinois often have to find a way to work with each other even if their romantic relationship does not last. It is standard for divorced or separated parents in Illinois to share parental rights and responsibilities. They can either negotiate arrangements on their own or go to court and have a judge allocate parenting time and other parental responsibilities.

Once there is a court order in place dividing time with the children and other parental rights and responsibilities, parents should do their best to cooperate with each other to meet the needs of their children. Unfortunately, they may still find themselves at odds over important decisions.

Parents living separate lives may want their children to follow different religions. They may disagree about health care choices or even what schools the children should attend. What happens when co-parents in Illinois cannot agree on major decisions for their children?

Decision-making conflicts may lead back to court

The existing order allocating parental rights and responsibilities usually addresses both parenting time and decision-making authority. It is common for parents to share the authority to make choices about their children. As a general rule, either parent can make emergency decisions during their parenting time, such as what hospital to go to after a car crash. Decisions with long-term implications usually require the input of both adults.

Sometimes, the terms for shared parental rights include clear instructions that grant one parent final authority in certain areas of child-rearing. Other times, both parents share that decision-making authority and need to agree on major matters. When parents cannot agree on key decisions, they may decide to take the matter back to family court.

Judges can modify existing court orders to prevent future conflicts about decision-making authority. A judge can also rule on a specific matter related to a child’s religion, healthcare needs or education. Litigated matters related to children should always focus on what the courts believe would be in the best interests of those children. Parents preparing to take a decision-making dispute back to family court may want to plan their strategies accordingly.