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What Goes into Determining Parenting Time?

 Posted on February 28, 2024 in Family Law

DuPage County family lawyerDeciding on a parenting time schedule that is in the child's best interest is one of the most important and often challenging aspects of child custody cases. Illinois courts rely on several factors when making determinations about parenting time arrangements. If you have any concerns or need help with this, an Illinois lawyer is the person to have on your side.

Evaluating the Child's Needs and Relationships

When deciding parenting time in Illinois, the court's primary goal is to do what is best for the child. They will look at what both parents want, but the child's needs and well-being come first. The court will consider how much time each parent spent caring for the child before the separation. They also want to see that both mom and dad will support the kid in having a solid relationship with the other parent going forward.

They will examine how the child adjusts to changes in their living situation, school, and community. The mental and physical health of the child, parents, and others involved gets reviewed. The quality of the connections between the child and each parent plays a big role, too. Information about domestic problems that could jeopardize the child's relationships or safety may impact the ruling.

Developing a Reasonable Schedule

The court will often encourage parents to create their parenting plan through mediation whenever possible. Without an agreement, the court will assign custody arrangements that allow the child to have frequent, continuing, and meaningful contact with both parents.

What constitutes a reasonable schedule depends on considerations such as the child's age, school schedule, parents' work obligations, and access to transportation. Infants and toddlers often benefit from shorter, more frequent visits, while older children can tolerate longer stretches apart. Courts disfavor schedules that require children to make frequent back-and-forth transitions.

Modifying Parenting Time

As children grow and family circumstances evolve, modifications to parenting time arrangements may become necessary. Illinois law has specific guidelines regarding the process for requesting a modification. Parents may modify the schedule by written agreement as long as it serves the child's best interests. But if parents cannot agree, the court will only order a modification if the petitioner can demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances since the existing arrangement was established. The court has discretion in determining what constitutes a substantial change.

Common reasons for modification include changes in the child's needs because of maturation, changes in time availability of either parent, or lack of cooperation from one parent regarding the existing plan. Modifications because of parent relocation may be subject to additional considerations per Illinois law.

Contact a DuPage County, IL Family Law Attorney

Developing an appropriate and legally enforceable parenting plan is vital yet complicated. A Naperville, IL family lawyer can provide guidance through factors the court will consider regarding your situation. Call [[title] at 630-352-2240 for a free consultation to get started.

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