If you are getting a divorce and have children, you may wonder who will get custody. However, the state of Illinois does not use the term ‘child custody’ regarding where the child lives or how the parent’s authority over the child is allocated after a divorce. Instead, since 2016, state law has referred to parenting time and parental responsibilities. Learn below how parenting time is decided in an Illinois divorce, then contact our Chicago child custody attorneys at Michael C. Craven for assistance.

How Parenting Time Is Decided

In 2016, Illinois family law removed ‘visitation’ from the statute and inserted ‘parenting time.’ The change reflected that both parents are usually vital to the minor’s life. Therefore, the parent is not simply visiting the child when they are together.

During the divorce, parents can present a parenting plan to the court for its approval. It is always best if the parents can come to court with a plan they agree on.

Under the updated law, the family court will decide if a parenting plan is not approved or if the parties cannot agree on custody. The court will decide on what is in the child’s best interest when deciding about parenting time. Some of the factors that the court will consider according to 750 ILCS 5/055 are:

  • The wishes of the parent who wants parenting time
  • What the child’s wishes are
  • How much time each parent spent caring for the child in the previous two years
  • Any prior agreement between the parents
  • How the child adjusts to the home, community, and school
  • The needs of the child
  • The mental and physical health of all parties
  • How far apart the parents’ residences are
  • Whether restricting parenting time is needed
  • Violence or threats of violence by either parent toward the child

This list is not exclusive. The family court can consider anything relevant and in the child’s best interests. But the court cannot consider anything that does not affect the child. The laws of Illinois assume both are fit parents and can have unrestricted parenting time with the children.

How To Create A Parenting Time Plan

Creating a parenting time plan with your ex can be difficult, but it is in the child’s best interests if this can be done without involving the court. The best way is to work with a skilled child custody attorney in Chicago who can help you set up an agreeable plan for both sides. An effective plan must address many aspects, including weekends, weekdays, holidays, vacations, and school breaks.

The law does not state that equal parenting time is in the child’s best interests. So, remember that shared parenting time does not always mean the time will be equal.

Contact Our Chicago Child Custody Attorneys

Child custody and visitation are often some of the most challenging parts of a divorce. If you need assistance with child custody, visitation, and establishing parenting time in the divorce settlement, our attorneys can help. Contact our Chicago child custody attorneys at Michael C. Craven for assistance today at 312-621-5234.

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