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St. Charles Parenting Time Lawyers

Kane County Parenting Time Visitation Lawyers

St. Charles Divorce Attorneys Helping Create Visitation Plans for Families

Divorcing parents will need to make two significant decisions regarding their children. The first is whether one parent will have primary physical care (custody) of a child or whether they will attempt shared physical care, meaning that each parent has the child for at least 146 nights out of the year (40% of the time). This decision can have an impact on the amount of financial child support that changes hands. The second decision is the parenting time schedule, which spells out when the child will be in the physical care of each parent.

At Weiler & Associates, Inc., we have been through the process of allocating parenting time with hundreds of clients, including the days when it was still called "custody" and "visitation." It may sound complicated, but one of our goals is to simplify the process for you as much as we can. There are standard plans we can start with and customize as necessary, and there are even online tools you can use to facilitate communication between you and your co-parent.

Our legal practice is dedicated to divorce and family law, so we have experience with a wide range of family circumstances. This experience enables us to identify and anticipate the types of problems you might encounter in the execution of your parenting time plan.

What to Include in a Parenting Time Schedule in Illinois

Any concerns you have about your co-parent and your parenting plan should be discussed and resolved in writing before your divorce is finalized. Once the court approves your divorce agreement, you will have to live with the terms for quite a long time. If you want to change the plan, you have to go back to the court and request a post-divorce modification, which takes time and money. While you can informally negotiate parenting-time changes with your co-parent, you do this at your own risk, because those informal agreements will not be legally enforceable until your court order is modified.

Your parenting time agreement should, at a minimum, spell out:

  • For standard weeks, the parenting plan should state when and where a child will be each day of the week. It can be more or less specific depending on the parents' preferences. For example, specific pick-up and drop-off times and locations can be included, with a provision for communicating about or negotiating deviations from the plan.
  • For major holidays, the schedule should indicate which parent will have the child on each holiday. Parents often agree to alternate years for certain holidays.
  • For summer break and other long school breaks, the schedule might show that the child will go to summer camp for a certain number of weeks and spend a certain number of days or weeks with each parent.

What Parents May Do During Their Allotted Parenting Time

Generally speaking, one parent has no legal right to dictate what a child does with their other parent as long as that parent is accomplishing the basic caretaking functions defined in Illinois law (750 ILCS 5/600) and is not violating any specific terms of your divorce settlement and parenting agreement.

Illinois law defines the caretaking functions for which each parent is responsible when the child is in their custody. Examples of caretaking functions include making non-significant decisions about the child's life, providing moral and ethical guidance, and ensuring that the child attends school, medical appointments, and other scheduled activities.

Significant decisions are those which have a long-term and important effect on the life of a child, defined in Illinois law as issues involving education, health, religion, and extracurricular activities. Your parenting agreement must state, for each separate category, whether decision-making authority is assigned to one parent or shared jointly.

The law also allows you to include a right of first refusal in your parenting time agreement. This means that, should one parent need childcare for a given length of time, the other parent has the right to care for the child during that time. For example, if a parent has to be out of town for work during a weekend when they would normally have the child, the other parent would be given the option to keep the child before the traveling parent makes other childcare arrangements.

Parenting Time and Visitation Lawyers Serving Kane County

When you need help resolving a dispute over parenting time or another matter of divorce and family law, contact Weiler & Associates, Inc. in our St. Charles office at 630-331-9110. We serve clients in Kane County including the communities of Batavia, Elgin, Geneva, Pingree Grove, and St. Charles.

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