New 50/50 Parenting Time Bill Introduced
Earlier this month, legislators introduced a new law, known as House Bill 185, that if passed, would require family law courts grappling with child custody matters, to presume that the involvement of both parents for equal amounts of time is in a child’s best interests. Although a similar bill, which was introduced last year, died in committee, the fate of the current bill remains unknown. For an explanation of your own parenting rights under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) and how the passage of this bill could affect them, please contact an experienced Rolling Meadows child custody and visitation lawyer who can assist you.
Allocating Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time
Under current Illinois law, courts are ordered to divide parenting time and parental decision making responsibilities between a child’s parents in such a way that best serves the child’s interests. If passed, House Bill 185 would eliminate a large portion of a judge’s discretion when making this decision, as a rebuttable presumption would exist that granting equal parenting time would automatically be in a child’s best interests. Furthermore, courts that chose to deviate from this presumption would be required to issue a written statement containing the specific findings of fact and conclusions of law that supported their decision.
The Implications of Enactment
Proponents of the bill argue that it gives fathers, who have historically received less parenting time with their children following divorce, the ability to be more involved in their children’s lives, while also relieving them of overly burdensome child support obligations. Opponents of the bill, on the other hand, argue that while in most cases, giving children access to both of their parents is in all parties’ best interests, creating a presumption of 50/50 parenting time is a radical and dangerous step, as it assumes that shared parenting is appropriate for all families. Others have expressed concern that imposing this type of strict legal presumption would strip away many of the protections offered to those who were abused by former spouses, while also making it much more difficult for judges to determine what type of arrangement is actually in a certain child’s best interests.
Detractors also point out that the bill, which would only apply to divorcing spouses who are unable to come to an agreement in an out-of-court setting, is unnecessary because only around 10% of couples fall under this category. Others have expressed concern over the effect that such a law would have on child support payments, as it could potentially disrupt a system that was specifically designed to assist women, who have historically been paid less, while also performing more unpaid labor in the home.
Contact an Experienced Rolling Meadows Child Custody Lawyer
If you and your spouse are considering divorce, you need the advice of an attorney who has the experience and resources to help you create a parenting plan that is in your child’s best interests. For an explanation of your parental rights, please contact the SAM LAW OFFICE LLC at 847-255-9925 today or complete one of our brief online contact forms.