Chicagoland Area Divorce And Parenting Time Lawyer
While a divorce is pending, and after divorce, the amount of time that children spend with each parent will inevitably change as a natural consequence of living in two separate households. While adjusting to this new reality can be a struggle at the best of times, it becomes even more difficult when parents disagree about the time children should spend with each parent. These disagreements often become incredibly contentious. Although spouses are no longer able to maintain a marital relationship, they will be parents for life. They will need to do everything they can to work together and cooperate as parents in order to raise healthy, well-grounded children, remembering to put their children’s best interests before their own needs.
At Botti Marinaccio, LTD., our family law attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience assisting our clients in favorably resolving child-related matters. With our personal, family-oriented approach, we will work to protect your rights and your children’s best interests throughout the divorce process.
Illinois Parenting Time Laws
Illinois law no longer identifies the time spent with children as “visitation.” This term implied that one parent was the primary parent, and the other parent was only granted temporary visiting rights with their children. The time children spend with their parents during and after divorce is now called “parenting time.” The law allocates parenting time between both parents as they continue to serve an active role in their children’s lives.
The courts will seek to protect a child’s best interests when making decisions about how to allocate parenting time. During these decisions, courts shall consider several factors to determine a child’s best interests. These factors include the following, as stated under ILCS 5/602.7:
- the wishes of each parent seeking parenting time;
- the wishes of the child, taking into account the child’s maturity and ability to express reasoned and independent preferences as to parenting time;
- the amount of time each parent spent performing caretaking functions with respect to the child in the 24 months preceding the filing of any petition for allocation of parental responsibilities or, if the child is under two years of age, since the child’s birth;
- any prior agreement or course of conduct between the parents relating to caretaking functions with respect to the child;
- the interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parents and siblings and with any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interests;
- the child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;
- the mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
- the child’s needs;
- 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;
- whether a restriction on parenting time is appropriate;
- the physical violence or threat of physical violence by the child’s parent directed against the child or other member of the child’s household;
- the willingness and ability of each parent to place the needs of the child ahead if his or her own needs;
- the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child;
- the occurrence of abuse against the child or other member of the child’s household;
- whether one of the parents is a convicted sex offender or lives with a convicted sex offender and, if so, the exact nature of the offense and what if any treatment the offender has successfully participated in; the parties are entitled to a hearing on the issues raised in this paragraph;
- the terms of a parent’s military family-care plan that a parent must complete before deployment if a parent is a member of the United States Armed Forces who is being deployed; and
- any other factor that the court expressly finds to be relevant.
One of the key factors that a court shall consider when deciding what is in a child’s best interests is whether the child will be in any danger while a parent is exercising their parenting time. Courts may decide to restrict parenting time if there is any history of abuse against a child or other family member by a parent, if a parent is a convicted sex offender, or if there is another reason the court believes a restriction is appropriate. The courts, however, usually presume that both parents are fit. The court will not place restrictions on a parent’s parenting time unless there is a preponderance of the evidence showing that children’s physical, mental, moral, or emotional health will be threatened during a parent’s parenting time.
Contact A Chicagoland Area Parenting Time Lawyer
Your parenting time with your children is precious, and the decisions made about parenting time during divorce will affect your relationship with your children for years to come. While many parents are able to use mediation or collaborative law to resolve disagreements about the allocation of parenting time, in some cases, it may be necessary to fight in court regarding your parenting time rights. When you are facing a contentious dispute over parenting time, it is crucial to have a skilled legal advocate on your side.
The attorneys of Botti Marinaccio, LTD. will work tirelessly to protect your parenting time rights and ensure that you will be able to maintain a positive relationship with your children for the rest of their lives. The law firm of Botti Marinaccio, LTD. solves problems through successful negotiations or, if necessary, at trial through a judge’s decision. To schedule a consultation, contact the main office by filling out our online contact form or calling 630-934-2192.