The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

630-409-8184

1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

parenting time, DuPage County family law attorneysA divorced, separated, or unmarried parent should never feel like a stranger in the life of his or her child. For many parents, however, that was often their reality as Illinois—like many states—used to refer to their time with their children as “visitation.” A parent who is seen as a “visitor,” rather than integral part of the child’s life, could experience a variety of problems, including a lack of parental authority and the appearance of not being fully committed to his or her child’s best interests.

Last year, however, an amended law took effect which proved that Illinois lawmakers recognized the struggles of many divorced parents. The new law was an effort to “level the playing field” so to speak between parents with different levels of parental responsibilities.

Visitation Is Now Parenting Time

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grandparents, DuPage County family law attorneyAllocating parental responsibilities often involves more than just parents and children. Grandparents and other family members often play a critical role in a child's life. For this reason, Illinois low allows grandparents to seek court-ordered visitation rights with a child.

It is important to understand that the law presumes that a parent is fit to make decisions regarding their child. This includes where and when to let a grandparent visit. If, however, the grandparent can prove to the court that the parent's denial of access is both unreasonable and harmful to the child's “mental, physical, or emotional health,” a judge can override the parent after considering a number of factors.

Court Holds Oral Visitation Agreement Unenforceable in Illinois

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Posted on in Visitation

parenting time, DuPage County family law attorneysThere are many scenarios that could lead to you having significantly less parenting time with your child than the other parent. Perhaps you were not married when your child was born and the court granted the other parent all of the decision-making responsibilities for the child and most of the parenting time. Or, maybe at the time of your divorce, you had serious issues with anger or showed signs of alcohol abuse, leading the court to limit the danger to your child. Whatever the reason may be, if you have precious little time with your child, you want to make the most of it. If the other parent is making it difficult for you to exercise your right to parenting time, a qualified family lawyer can help.

Get Things in Writing

Being denied access to your child can incredibly frustrating, especially if it is being done out of spite or anger. A finding of danger by the court is one thing, but the unsanctioned actions of the other parent are not acceptable. The first thing you should do if your parenting time rights are being unfairly limited is to keep a record of all communication between you and the other parent. Using emails or text messages instead of phone calls or in-person conversations can provide the documentation you may need down the road. If you ask to see your child and the other parent refuses, document his or her response. Failure by the other parent to comply with your court-ordered parenting arrangement could result in serious consequences for him or her.

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child's wishes, DuPage County family law attorneyWhen a couple with children breaks up or gets divorced, it is often the children who get caught in the middle. Along with the other considerations inherent to the proceedings, the divorcing parents are faced with deciding how to divide parental responsibilities and parenting time. This concept used to be known as child custody in Illinois, but changes to the law have updated the language being used by the courts. Regardless of what it may be called, determining who will be responsible for your child and where he or she will live are serious concerns with many factors to be considered. Some people may be surprised to learn that the child’s wishes are, by law, expected to be part of the equation.

What the Law Says

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a child does have some say in how parental responsibilities and parenting time are allocated by the courts. The court, however, will not base its decision solely on the child’s wishes; they are a part of the bigger picture. Other factors, as one might expect, include each parent’s ability and willingness to provide for the child, allegations or history of abuse, and the relationship each parent has with the child.

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parenting time, Aurora family law attorneyIf you are divorced or separated from your child’s other parent, you may face a number of challenges related to exercising your parental rights. It is often difficult for couples who have gone their separate ways to see eye-to-eye regarding their children, but that does not mean one parent is any less important than the other. Under Illinois law, you have a number of legal rights involving your child that cannot be taken from you without due process.

Parental Responsibilities

The Illinois legislature recently overhauled the understanding of child custody in the state, refocusing the law on the allocation of parental responsibilities rather than statuses and titles. Parents are no longer awarded sole or joint custody, and neither party assumes the title of custodial or non-custodial parent. Instead, each parent is assigned authority for specific responsibilities, which are divided into two primary considerations. The first is significant decision-making regarding the child, which includes education, health care, religious training, and extracurricular activities. The other involves each parent’s allocated parenting time, previously called visitation.

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The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

630-409-8184

1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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