Parents will need to address the needs of minor children in any Illinois divorce, but certain issues are more complex when both parents don’t live in the same state. Whether one parent is already a non-resident or was allowed by a court to relocate, the situation raises important questions about parenting time – familiarly known as visitation. The judicial system recognizes a child benefits by having a solid relationship with both parents, so you could face a conundrum in trying to balance this objective with the logistics of out-of-state parenting time.

If you’re in such a position, either as the parent in Illinois or as the parent in another state, it’s important to work with a Chicago child visitation and parenting time attorney to protect your parental rights. An overview may also help you understand some key issues at stake.

Overview of Illinois Law on Parenting Time:

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act’s section on Allocation of Parental Responsibilities covers the topic of parenting time, defining it as the time a parent exercises caretaking functions for the child. That parent would be responsible for supervision, meals and the child’s general well-being, but not for significant decision-making. Parenting time is included as part of a court order when:

  1. The parents enter into a parenting plan by agreement, including details regarding visitation; or,
  2. The judge decides on parenting time after conducting a hearing/trial on the matter.

In either situation, it’s important to remember the order is legally binding regardless of where you live. The court retains jurisdiction over the matter of parenting time – with the power to enforce it as necessary. You must comply with the parenting plan terms, including visitation, even if it means transportation will be a challenge.

Factors Related to Out-of-State Parenting Plans:

Whether by agreement or a hearing, a typical parenting plan will include both custody and visitation issues, with a focus on the child’s best interests. There are some special considerations when one parent doesn’t live in Illinois:

  • Though both parents may share in important decision-making regarding the child, one will usually be the parent with whom the child primarily resides with. The other parent will have the right to exercise parenting time.
  • The parenting time schedule must be able to accommodate the distance between the two parents’ homes. The times and dates should be firm, since travel plans cannot be changed or canceled as easily as they might when parents live closer.
  • It may make sense for the out-of-state parent to come to the child to exercise parenting time, instead of transporting the child for every visitation period.
  • The parenting plan should also address the issue of expenses for parenting time transportation, since there may be implications for child support.

Discuss Your Case with a Chicago Child Visitation and Parenting Time Lawyer

Hopefully, this summary of out-of-state parenting time issues is helpful, but it also demonstrates the complexities you could encounter. Don’t put your rights as a parent at risk by trying to represent yourself in connection with visitation proceedings. You can trust a skilled attorney to assist with your case. Call (312) 621-5234 or go online to reach the Chicago, IL Law Offices of Michael C. Craven. We can schedule a consultation to review your circumstances and determine the best strategy for moving forward.