In 2016, Illinois made a series of major changes to the state’s Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. For instance, courts are directed to refrain from using the words custody and visitation and are instead urged to divide parenting responsibilities and time-sharing based on a series of objective factors. These determinations have a significant impact on how much time parents are able to spend with their children after divorce, so it is important for those who are considering dissolving their marriages to first speak with an experienced Schaumburg parenting time attorney about their legal options.
In many states, courts distinguish parenting time by awarding either joint or sole custody. Custody is often further broken down into physical and legal custody, with the former referring to the actual time spent with the child and the latter describing decision making responsibilities. Illinois family law does not ascribe to this understanding. Instead, courts are directed to create a schedule of parenting time that fits the specific facts of a case and is in the child’s best interests. This process requires deliberation over and the application of certain factors, including:
Courts are also given discretion when it comes to a child’s preference, although judges do not take a child’s wishes into account unless there is evidence that the child is of sufficient maturity to make a reasoned decision.
The state’s new understanding of shared parenting time allows for diverse and unique arrangements that account for each parent’s circumstances as well as the child’s best interests. Although judges will step in and create parenting time schedules when parents are unable to come up with an agreement on their own, divorcing couples are still encouraged to come to an out-of-court time-sharing arrangement, as these schedules often reflect the specific needs of the parties in question better than a determination made by a third party judge.
An experienced parenting time attorney can play a critical role in ensuring that a party’s fitness as a parent is accurately represented to the court and that a fair time-sharing arrangement is reached. Please contact SAM LAW OFFICE LLC at 847-255-9925 today to have your case evaluated for free by a dedicated attorney.