Dedicated Morris Family Attorneys That Focus On Visitation
For parents going through a divorce, child custody and visitation rights are among the most hotly contested issues. The ability to spend time with your child is crucial in establishing a strong parent/child bond, but negotiating a schedule that suits everyone’s interests can be challenging. The parent with whom the child resides often has issues with the times, dates, and places that visitation takes place, while the parent seeking visitation can easily feel left out or lacking in their fair share of parenting time. Changes in the Illinois state laws concerning custody and visitation have changed the way the courts view these matters, but one thing remains constant: the welfare and best interests of the children in question. Being aware of your rights as a parent, as well as the factors the court considers when awarding visitation, are important parts of establishing and maintaining a schedule that will allow your divorce to have the least amount of negative impact on your child.
Your Rights and Responsibilities As A Parent
In the eyes of the court, maintaining steady contact with your child and participation in their lives is more than just your right; it is a parent’s duty. Changes made in 2016 to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), which governs issues relating to custody and visitation, reflect the court’s view of the responsibility parents have toward their children, not just in the amount of time spent with them but also in the role they play in making decisions that affect the child’s welfare and future development. In an effort to ensure couples work together in fulfilling the duties as parents, the words custody and visitation have been replaced with the term allocation of parental responsibilities. For many non-custodial parents, this means increased legal rights as parent, as well as additional opportunities to minimize the effects of divorce while maintaining a presence in the day to day experiences of their child’s life.
Factors To Be Considered When Awarding Visitation
Under the Illinois Compiled Statutes (750 ILCS 5/602.5 602.7), the court will consider the following factors in determining both the amount of visitation a parent is entitled to, as well as the amount of influence they have in decisions concerning the child:
- The wishes of the child and the parents;
- The ability of the child to adjust to circumstances in their lives;
- The ability of the parents to cooperate and share parenting duties;
- Past responsibilities in caring for the child, and how those responsibilities were handled;
- The distance between the parent’s residences and the amount of time able to be spent with the child;
- The ability of parent to promote a close and loving relationship between the child and the other parent or family members.
Even if a parent is denied decision making responsibilities, they are still entitled to visitation with their child. A parenting plan, as approved by the court, will attempt to divide time spent for holiday, birthdays, vacations, and weekly and overnight visitations between both parties, in a way that is fair to the parents as well as the child.
Let Us Assist You
If you have questions regarding your rights to visitation or custody, contact Sabuco, Beck, Hansen, Massino & Pollack, PC today. Our experienced Will County family law attorneys have the knowledge and know how to ensure your rights and interests as a parent are protected. We have offices throughout Will County and the surrounding area.