In 2016, For the first time in more than 40 years, the state legislature made a series of major changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). While these changes were wide-ranging and covered a variety of issues, perhaps the most significant amendment involved a revised view on how courts divide parenting time between two parents upon divorce. To this end, courts were directed to refrain from using the terms ‘visitation’ and ‘custody,’ but to instead refer to ‘parenting time’ and ‘decision making responsibility,’ both of which are determined based on the best interests of the child standard. To learn more about these changes and how they could affect your own divorce case, please contact a dedicated Rolling Meadows parenting time attorney today.
Couples who agree to share parenting time equally are often able to draft their own agreements and can institute any time-sharing schedule that they want, as long as it is later approved by the court. Alternatively, when a family is unable to come to an agreement, this decision is taken out of the parties’ hands and is assigned to a family law court, which will step in and create a parenting plan that it deems is in the child’s best interests. In either case, the parenting time schedule must include certain information, including:
Although Illinois does not have a standard parenting time schedule, it is not uncommon for courts to create an arrangement where a child visits the party deemed to be the non-custodial parent every other weekend and on one evening per week. Similarly, holiday schedules put in place by courts usually require the parents to alternate major holidays, while each party will have access to the child for half of spring break. When it comes to summer vacations, the non-custodial parent is usually granted parenting time with the child for between four and six weeks.
When two parties have a joint parenting time arrangement in place, they are often able to make changes to that agreement at a later day, as long as the changes are mutually agreed upon, reduced to writing, and approved by the court. Otherwise, the party who wishes to change the arrangement will need to petition the court and demonstrate that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred and that modifying the agreement would serve the child’s best interests. Changes that are often considered to be substantial enough to justify a modification include relocation of one parent to another state or a major health issue.
To speak with the dedicated Rolling Meadows parenting time legal team at SAM LAW OFFICE LLC about your own divorce, please call 847-255-9925 or complete one of our brief online contact forms.