One of the most difficult aspects of many divorces is determining where a child will live and how often he or she will see both parents. Recognizing that a child’s parents are usually in the best position to determine what a child needs, Illinois courts encourage divorcing parents to come up with their own mutually agreed-upon parenting plans. When properly completed, parenting plans divide not only parental responsibilities between the parties but also parenting time. Unfortunately, it is not always possible for a couple to come to an agreement regarding some or all of these issues, in which case, a judge will step in and create a parenting time schedule that he or she believes is in the child’s best interests. At this point, having an experienced legal representative who can ensure that a party’s fitness as a parent is adequately proven is critical to making sure that a time-sharing agreement is fair.
If you are considering divorce and have questions or concerns about how much access you will have to your child after divorce, it is important to consult with an experienced Arlington Heights parenting time lawyer who can assist you.
In 2016, the Illinois Legislature directed family law courts to stop using the terms “custody” and “visitation” in matters related to divorce. Instead, parents are granted what is referred to as parenting time, which is defined as the period of time during which a parent is responsible for performing childcare functions and exercising minor decision-making responsibilities. Many parents are able to come up with time-sharing schedules on their own and without court intervention, in which case, a judge is only required to approve the plan for it to go into effect. Otherwise, if the parents are unable to communicate, agree, or cooperate, the court will allocate parenting time based on what it deems to be in the best interests of the child.
Parenting time schedules must address a number of different situations, including not only time sharing on school days and weekends, but also:
For instance, many families choose to alternate holidays spent with a child, so a child could spend Thanksgiving with one parent during odd-numbered years and celebrate it with the other parent in even-numbered years. Alternatively, the parents could decide to split each holiday, so that a child has access to both parents during the winter or spring holidays. This is especially common in cases in which the two parents live near each other or the holiday holds special religious significance to the family. However, the type of schedule that a family comes up with ultimately depends on its particular circumstances. If, for instance, one parent has a job that requires him or her to travel unexpectedly, the couple will need to account for that in the parenting plan. Similarly, if one parent lives out of state, unique accommodations may need to be made to ensure that the child can foster a continuing and close relationship with that parent.
Please contact the SAM LAW OFFICE LLC at 847-255-9925 to speak with a dedicated and compassionate parenting time attorney about your own pending divorce.