When you get divorced or split up and you have children, there are dozens of little things you have to arrange in order to co-parent effectively. Specifically, you will make a schedule of when your children will spend time with you and when your children will spend time with their other parent. Then, you will need to specifically outline how those children are to get to their respective parent’s homes.
Making such a specific schedule for parenting time and transportation to the location that parenting time is supposed to occur is mandatory in Illinois.
Arranging Pick-Ups And Drop-Offs By Agreement After An Illinois Divorce
Usually, these details regarding transportation of children after a divorce are written in a parenting plan.
A parenting plan is “a written agreement that allocates significant decision-making responsibilities, parenting time, or both.” 750 ILCS 5/600(f)
“At a minimum, a parenting plan must set forth the following:
provisions for the child’s living arrangements and for each parent’s parenting time, including either:(A) a schedule that designates in which parent’s home the minor child will reside on given days” 750 ILCS 5/602.10(f)(2)
“[P]rovisions for the exercise of the right of first refusal, if so desired, that are consistent with the best interests of the minor child; provisions in the plan for the exercise of the right of first refusal must include:… iii) transportation requirements” 750 ILCS 5/602.10(f)(14)(iii)
The best practice is for the parent beginning their parenting time to pick up the child from the other parent or from school. Otherwise, the parent ending their parenting time will be waiting on the other parent.
Waiting for another parent to pick a child can result in the late parent forfeiting their parenting time if so agreed (this is not advisable as life happens and children will be disappointed). Being consistently late for pick-ups and drop-offs can result in a loss of parenting time for the chronically late parent.
“[E]vidence favoring [one parent] as [a child’s] custodial parent [can include] the following: [the other parent] was sometimes late picking up the children for visitation” In re Marriage of Marsh, 799 NE 2d 1037 – Ill: Appellate Court, 4th Dist. 2003
Even better is when the parents can begin their parenting time and do their pick-ups from a school, daycare or activity. This limits contact between the parents and eliminates the waiting issue.
If the parents cannot agree, the court will decide the transportation issues regarding the children.
“Unless the parents present a mutually agreed written parenting plan and that plan is approved by the court, the court shall allocate parenting time.” 750 ILCS 5/602.7(b)
“The court shall allocate parenting time according to the child’s best interests.” 750 ILCS 5/602.7(a)
The court will determine what the parent’s and children’s schedules are when determining who will perform the pick-ups and when the pick-ups will happen.
“In determining the child’s best interests for purposes of allocating parenting time, the court shall consider… the distance between the parents’ residences, the cost and difficulty of transporting the child, each parent’s and the child’s daily schedules, and the ability of the parents to cooperate in the arrangement” 750 ILCS 5/602.7
An Illinois divorce judge can also allow family members and close friends to perform the pick-ups, drop-offs or transport the children.
A court may order that “[a parent’s spouse] or another responsible adult designated by [the parent]may pick up and drop off the children, and [a parent’s spouse] would be added to the school pickup list.” IN RE MARRIAGE OF BURNS AND LIFFERTH, 128 NE 3d 1037 – Ill: Appellate Court, 2nd Dist. 2019
If the transition of the children between the two homes is dramatic, traumatic or even problematic, the court can order the transition to happen at a police station (where the parties are presumed to be capable of behaving themselves).
“[D]ue to problems concerning interaction between [the parents], a[ court can] order that pickups and drop-offs of the children occur at a police station.” IN RE MARRIAGE OF ALTMAN AND BLOCK, 59 NE 3d 914 – Ill: Appellate Court, 1st Dist., 3rd Div. 2016
Pick-Ups And Drop-Offs When There Has Been An Order Of Protection Issued In Illinois
If the parent who will begin exercising their parenting time has an order of protection against them, the pick-ups and drop-offs must be strictly managed to protect the other parent.
“If the court grants parenting time, the order shall specify dates and times for the parenting time to take place or other specific parameters or conditions that are appropriate…. If necessary to protect any member of petitioner’s family or household from future abuse, respondent shall be prohibited from coming to petitioner’s residence to meet the minor child for parenting time, and the parties shall submit to the court their recommendations for reasonable alternative arrangements for parenting time.” 750 ILCS 60/215(b)(7)
The parent tendering the children to the other parent is usually obligated to be the bigger person. The parent ending their parenting time waits for the other parent and turns the children over with little to no question about activities, clothing, etc. But, when there is an order of protection, the parent turning over the children can exercise their best judgment and refuse to turn the children over.
“Petitioner may deny respondent access to the minor child if, when respondent arrives for parenting time, respondent is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and constitutes a threat to the safety and well-being of petitioner or petitioner’s minor children or is behaving in a violent or abusive manner.” 750 ILCS 60/215(b)(7)
If you are having problems with pick-ups and drop-offs for your children, that is probably the tip of the iceberg for your co-parenting issues. Contact my Chicago, Illinois family law firm to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Illinois divorce attorney.