If you or your spouse have decided that you can no longer live together, either by legal separation or divorce, an appropriate plan for the care of your children must be created that prioritizes your children’s best interests. This includes decision making, regular parenting time for both you and your spouse, and holiday parenting time.

These plans, which are called Allocation of Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time in Illinois, are approved by the court and carry the force of law. However, they are not permanently set in stone, and they can change if there has been a substantial change in circumstances. For assistance with creating a plan for your children following a divorce or separation, get in contact with a compassionate family attorney. A Joliet parenting time (visitation) lawyer could be a great asset to your case.

Visitation Rights and Custody

Custody is a term that is no longer used in Illinois. It was often a misunderstood word that caused several unnecessary fights over a word. Custody has been replaced with Allocation of Parenting Responsibilities (APR) and Parenting Time. APR considers only four major decisions:

  1. Religion
  2. Health Care
  3. Education
  4. Extra-curricular activities.

If you and your spouse can agree on these decisions, you will likely enter a joint allocation judgment. Then, you and your spouse will need to determine a parenting schedule for your children. It is important to focus on what works best for your children and not to get caught up on who is the residential parent or any other term.

In all but the most extreme circumstances, such as abuse or incarceration, the parent who does not have the majority of parenting time will be granted parenting time. These parenting time rights can take on many forms depending on the child’s age, specific needs, any history of abuse, and the child’s wishes. Most parenting plans involve alternating weekends and for a few hours multiple nights a week or overnight during the week if possible. It is important to focus on what works best for you and your children. Do not try to force the norm on your family if your schedules do not accommodate a normal alternating weekend schedule.

How Could a Plan Be Modified?

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that a modification of a parenting time order can be requested if the court finds that a change is in the child’s best interest. This decision involves several factors including but not limited to:

  • Any abuse or neglect suffered by the child
  • Any alcohol or drug abuse
  • Any interference with access to the child as mandated by the original order
  • Changes in the child’s age
  • Changes in either parent’s physical residence
  • Changes to either parent’s work schedule
  • And more

In short, any change to a parenting time order may be agreed on by both parents or necessitated by a dangerous situation for the child when in the presence of one of the parents. If the parties cannot agree, the decision will be made by the judge. For more information, get in contact with a Joliet parenting time (visitation) lawyer today.

What if a Parent Violates a Parenting Time Order?

Any parenting time order issued by an Illinois court has the force of law behind it. This means that if you violate this order, you can be found to be in contempt of court, which could result in jail time and other bad consequences. A violation of an existing visitation agreement can be grounds for a judge to modify an existing visitation order, issue fines to the offending parent, and/or create other solutions going forward. Violations can take on many forms, including the denial of parenting time or noncompliance with other terms. Reach out to a Joliet parenting time (visitation) lawyer to learn more.

The Visitation Attorneys at Our Firm Protect Your Rights

Every child should be able to grow up in a healthy and stable environment. Ideally, this includes the presence of both parents in their lives, even when those parents have separated or divorced. Similarly, in most circumstances, parents should have the right to have parenting time with their children.

A Joliet parenting time (visitation) lawyer could work to enforce existing orders and/or file motions to modify orders when appropriate. Whether you are looking to form a visitation plan in anticipation of a divorce, modify an existing order, or file a complaint against a spouse who is violating an existing plan, we are available to help. Contact Reidy Law Office LLC today so that we can get to work for you.