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New bill in legislature could benefit noncustodial parents

New bill in legislature could benefit noncustodial parents

For the majority of parents, children are the most important parts of their lives, which is why both parties in a divorce typically do their best to get the most favorable child custody and visitation arrangement that they can. Unfortunately, this often leads to a visitation schedule dispute by the noncustodial parent.

To address the growing belief that noncustodial parents have historically not been given enough time with their children to foster bonding, a bill has been introduced in the Illinois House that could change the formula that determines how much time each parent has with their kids.

Representative John Cabello’s HB 5425 sets a target of 35 percent of the total hours in a week for noncustodial parents, provided that they are determined to be fit parents. This amounts to some 60 hours each week.

The proposal would give parents 90 days to formulate a shared parenting plan without court intervention. Courts will only intervene if parents cannot agree on a plan.

Under current law, visitation plans typically provide the noncustodial parent with just four hours a week and every other weekend, which equates to less than 30 hours each week.

One advocate of fathers’ rights thinks the proposed change would give noncustodial parents the chance for more quality bonding time with their children. Some opponents, however, argue that setting a standard formula may not be that helpful because child-parent relationships change as children age.

Proponents also believe that because the change would allow more time for the noncustodial parent and cut down on legal battles, the number of parental fights over custody may drop and fewer children would become pawns in custody battles, which are typically emotionally draining for both parents and children.

For parents who want more time with their children, the legislation could offer a chance for them to become more involved in their children’s lives.

Source: The State Journal-Register, “‘Shared Parenting’ bill would set new visitation rules,” Tobias Wall, Mar. 19, 2014

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