In an effort to ensure that children are able to establish continuing and close relationships with both of their parents after divorce, the Illinois Legislature made major revisions to the state’s family law code. Under the new version of the law, courts are discouraged from using the words custody and visitation but are instead directed to divide parental responsibilities and parenting time between a child’s parents. When determining how parenting time will be allocated, courts must take a number of different factors into account, including each parent’s preference, the distance between the parties’ residences, and the child’s specific needs. Above all, judges are directed to make decisions based on what is in the best interests of the child. To learn more about this standard and how it could affect access to your own child after divorce, please contact our Palatine parenting time legal team for advice.
Under current law, the prevailing standard that judges must use when determining how parental responsibilities and parenting time will be divided is what is in the best interests of the child. To help them make this determination, courts are directed to take a series of factors into account, including:
When taken together, these factors can help judges come up with a parenting time plan that is in the child’s best interests. While a number of studies have revealed that it is usually best for a child’s continued emotional and intellectual growth to have a close and continuing relationship with both parents, this is not always possible. If a parent’s conflicting work schedule or a lack of willingness to cooperate with the other parent make an equal time-sharing schedule impossible, the court will impose an alternate schedule. In these cases, courts may allocate less parenting time and fewer responsibilities, or even supervised visitation to one parent. Alternatively, in situations in which both parents show a strong desire to retain an important and stable role in their child’s life, courts are often willing to award shared decision making and parenting time in nearly all aspects of their child’s life.
Divorcing parents are not always at the mercy of the court when it comes to creating a time-sharing schedule, as families are encouraged to come up with their own arrangement in an out-of-court setting. This ensures that the parents are able to create a schedule that addresses the unique needs of all parties, including the children. For help negotiating a time-sharing agreement with your own spouse, please call the SAM LAW OFFICE LLC at 847-255-9925 or send us an online message and a member of our legal team will help you schedule a free case evaluation.