If you are going through a divorce and have children, you will likely be involved in a custody dispute. Back in 2016, the Illinois legislature made major changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). Some of these changes include how the courts refer to custody and visitation, which are now known as ‘allocation of parental responsibility’ and ‘parenting time.’ To learn more about how these can affect your pending or upcoming divorce, it is important to reach out to an Illinois parenting time attorney near you.
If you and your soon-to-be ex can come to an agreement on sharing parenting time equally, you may be able to draft your own agreement. You are allowed to institute a sharing schedule that works best for all parties, but it still has to be approved by the court. In situations in which you and your ex cannot agree on anything, a family law court will be the one who will make the decisions. They will step in and create a parenting plan that is believed to be in the best interests of the child.
Regardless of who comes up with the parenting plan schedule, Illinois law requires that it include specific information, like:
Illinois does not have a specific or standardized parenting time schedule it uses, but it is not uncommon for the courts to create an arrangement that has the child visiting the non-custodial parent every other weekend and on one weeknight each week. If the court creates a holiday schedule, it typically requires that parents alternate major holidays, and each parent will have the child for half of spring break. For summer vacations, it is not uncommon for the court to award around four to six weeks with the non-custodial parent.
Even after a parenting time schedule is in place, there may be changes that need to happen down the line. If the parents agreed on the original arrangement, changes may be made, provided they are mutually agreed upon and put in writing. The court then has the discretion on whether to accept these changes or not.
If the parents do not agree, the party wishing to modify the agreement will need to petition the court and demonstrate that there has been a material change in circumstances that warrants the court modifying the order. Some changes that may warrant modifying the plan include one parent wanting to relocate to another state, losing a job, or undergoing major health issues.
At the SAM LAW FIRM LLC, our team of Illinois family law attorneys handle a variety of legal issues, including parenting time schedules. Call our office today to schedule a free initial consultation.