Illinois’ ‘Joint custody’ lives on by a new name under revised law, says Circuit Court Judge Arnold Blockman

Illinois’ ‘Joint custody’ lives on by a new name under revised law

By M. Scott Gordon

Though the term “joint parenting” has replaced “joint custody,” the joint-custody concept survives under the revised Illinois Divorce law — which means judges must continue to put kids first when making parenting decisions.

That’s the view of retired Champaign County Circuit Court Judge Arnold F. Blockman, who says “joint custody” is just as available now as before the enactment of the divorce-law rewrite that took effect last January 1. This is true despite the creation under the new law of an entirely new vocabulary to describe parenting, says Blockman, who serves on the Illinois State Bar Association’s Family Law Section Council.

In the August Family Law newsletter, Blockman opines that “[w]hatever the other merits…of the new Act, it certainly changed nothing (except terminology) in regard to the parties agreeing as to joint parenting or the ability of the court to impose joint parenting on the parties even without agreement of one or both parents.” As a result, judges still must make sure that divorcing parents have the kind of willingness to cooperate and mutual respect that make joint parenting possible.