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How are the child's best interests linked to parenting time?

Illinois parenting time can be complex and difficult. Naturally, both parents will want to adhere to the child's best interests, but certain issues can come to the forefront and result in a parenting time dispute. When this happens, it is wise to examine state law and see how the court decides on the issue, whether a parenting time modification will be made, and how the best interests of the child will be served.

The court will consider what each parent wants; what the child wants with the child's age and maturity taken into consideration; how much time the parents spent caring for the child in the two years before the filing; any agreement that was made between the parents; what interactions and interrelationships the child has established with the parents, siblings, or any other person who might have an impact on the child; how the child is adjusting to the new home and community; and the mental and physical well-being of everyone involved with the case.

Other aspects will be the child's needs; how far apart the parents reside, how much it costs and how difficult it is to transport the child with parents' schedules and cooperation; if parenting time being restricted is an appropriate measure to take; if there was physical abuse or the threat of physical abuse against the child by the parent or someone else in the home; if the parents are willing to adhere to what the child needs rather than what they want; if there was abuse committed against the child; if one of the parents is a convicted sex offender or lives with a convicted sex offender; if there is a military member and how that affects the child; and any other issue that is deemed important.

Needless to say, the courts will take into account everything that could have an effect on the child. For parents who are trying to come to an agreement on parenting time, it is key to remember that the first issue they should be worried about is their parental responsibility. Even with that, disagreements can still crop up and the parents are not able to settle it on their own. When it comes to any aspect of parenting time, having legal assistance can help to smooth the process.

Source: ilga.gov, "602.7. Allocation of parental responsibilities: parenting time.," accessed on Jan. 17, 2017

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