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.
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.
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:
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.
If you have questions regarding your rights to visitation or custody, contact Sabuco, Beck, Hansen & Massino, P.C. today. Our experienced Will County family law attorneys have the knowledge to ensure your rights and interests as a parent are protected. We have offices throughout Will County and the surrounding area.
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