In 2016, the Illinois Legislature directed courts to refrain from referring to custody and visitation, but to instead award parenting time and decision making responsibility. These awards were to be based on the best interests of the child, as well as an analysis of a series of important factors, including the child’s adjustment to his or her home and school, the relationships between the parties, and who was primarily responsible for childcare duties prior to divorce.
Determining how parenting time will be divided upon divorce is one of the most difficult and emotional aspects of divorce for many parents. Fortunately, couples are not always required to leave the decision up to the courts but have the option of coming up with their own parenting plans and time-sharing schedule, which if approved by the court, will be made legally binding. It is only when a couple is unable to agree on a parenting time arrangement or there are health or safety concerns for a child that a court will step in and draft its own parenting plan. For help negotiating a parenting plan with your own spouse or ensuring that your interests and the interests of your child are represented in court, please contact a member of our dedicated Wheeling parenting time legal team today for assistance.
When a parenting time schedule has been awarded by the court, the parties are granted certain rights on days that they have custody of the child. First among these duties is the performance of all caretaking functions, which includes:
The right to fulfill these types of duties can typically not be restricted unless the court finds that a child is endangered.
When a parent has the right and responsibility to fulfill these duties depends on the parenting time schedule ordered by the court. These schedules vary depending on the parties’ circumstances, including the distance between the parents’ homes, the child’s wishes, and the parties’ employment situations. Although Illinois doesn’t have a standard parenting time schedule, it is not uncommon for parents who live close to each other to share parenting time equally, with the child spending part of the week with one parent and part of the week with the other parent. Alternatively, the non-custodial parent could be granted access to the child one evening during the week and every other weekend, or every afternoon after school for a few hours. Ultimately, what a parenting time schedule looks like is up to the parents and the courts and is dependent on the child’s best interests.
To set up a free case evaluation with a dedicated Wheeling parenting time lawyer, please call the SAM LAW OFFICE LLC at 847-255-9925 or send us an online message at your earliest convenience.