When parents’ divorce, they must decide how to divide parenting time and responsibility, previously referred to as child custody in Illinois.
Parenting time is how time with the child is allocated between the parents, often a roughly 50/50 split depending on the circumstances, and always with an eye toward what is in the best interests of the child.
For example, if parents live relatively close to one another, in close proximity to the child’s school and activities, sharing parenting time equally is made easier because it limits disruptions to the child’s routine, which is certainly in the child’s best interest.
If, however, parents live at greater distance, they may have to arrange parenting time around summer vacations and holidays so that both parents can continue a relationship with the child. This may not represent a 50|50 split, but may better serve the child’s interests.
When Parents Cannot Agree on a Parenting Time Arrangement
If parents cannot agree on a parenting time schedule, the court will look at various factors to find a parenting time arrangement that, first and foremost, serves the child’s best interests, while trying to find a solution that works for everyone involved. Factors considered with allocating parenting time in Illinois include:
- The wishes of the parents
- The wishes of the child, perhaps more so if the child is mature enough to understand the situation and make rational choices
- The time each parent has spent caring for the child in recent years and what, if any, caretaking arrangement the parents have previously agreed to
- The child’s relationship with each parent, and members of each household (step siblings, new ‘significant other’ of a parent, live in roommate, etc.)
- The physical and mental health of both parents and the child, with an emphasis on the unique needs of the child and whether a parent is willing or able to put the needs of the child first
- The geographic distance between the parents and the ability of the child to adjust to changes in their home environment, community and school when shifting between home environments
- Whether there is a history of violence or abuse perpetrated by a parent against the child
- The parents’ abilities to work together to make a parenting plan work
- Other relevant factors
Contact an Experienced Illinois Child Custody Lawyer
When you have questions regarding Illinois parenting time or parental responsibility call the Lake county Illinois family law office of Ronald L. Bell at 847-495-6000 for answers.