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Parenting time is a complicated matter

2016 is a big year for family law in the state of Illinois. A big change to the way the state views "child custody and visitation" -- terms no longer used in the state -- is that a judge makes determinations on each aspect of the child's upbringing and grants responsibilities to the parents to carry this out.

The new law refers to "child custody" and "visitation" as "parental responsibilities" and "parenting time," respectively. In addition, the judge always makes his or her determinations with the best interests of the child in mind. The judge doesn't necessarily have to make these determinations if both spouses can agree to a parenting agreement when they divorce.

Going back to the judge's determinations: he or she could say that one spouse has the responsibility of the religious upbringing of the child, while another spouse has the responsibility of the child's healthcare. There are many other subjects that can be addressed in this new law by the judges.

There is also "parenting time," which again will be determined by a judge with the best interests of the child in mind. This is a more complex area of the law, and each case will be unique. As such, so will the factors a judge uses to ultimately determine parenting time.

With this new law in effect, it behooves splitting spouses who have a child to consult with family law attorneys with experience handling parental responsibilities, parenting time and collaborative divorce or alternative dispute resolution tactics.

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Goddard & Malmquist
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