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Geneva parenting time attorneyFamily and relationship experts have long known that children generally fare best after their parents’ divorce or separation when both parents continue to play an active role in the children’s lives. There are, of course, many ways for parents to maintain a healthy relationship with their children, but most experts believe that time together is a vital part of doing so. In recent years, there has been a greater effort in many parts of the country to include fathers more in parenting arrangements following a divorce or separation, but change, it seems, has been slow in coming to Illinois.

In many situations, mothers are granted a majority of the parenting time with their children while fathers are forced to make do with less. A new study shows how much less, and the results are rather alarming.

Illinois Near the Bottom

Geneva parental relocation attorneyFollowing a divorce, very few parents are able to reach an agreement in which their children spend equal time with both parents. In Illinois, however, parenting time is handled separately from significant decision-making responsibilities, which means that even if parenting time is not split equally, both parents could have equal authority regarding major decisions for the child.

Sometimes, the parent that has been given the majority of the parenting may wish to move from his or her current home. Because the child spends more than half of the time with that parent, it is easy for the parent to assume that they can simply move whenever they please. The law in Illinois does allow parents who share parenting time to move to a new home, but it must be done within certain geographical areas unless the non-moving parent grants his or her consent to the move.

How Far Can I Go?

Kane County family law attorneyDivorce proceedings can be a difficult and painful experience for all involved, including the children. This is doubly true if they are old enough to understand what is going on. It is only natural that they may develop opinions on some of the issues pending in your divorce. However, in some instances, their opinions will actually carry weight with the judge. Nowhere is this more common than with issues involving parenting time.

How Much Weight to Give?

When parenting time arrangements are left to be determined by a family court judge, he or she must take into account a number of several factors. A child’s preference may be one of them, though it will not necessarily receive more consideration than other elements, including:

Kane County family law attorneyWhile it may seem that your children just went back to school a few short weeks ago, the reality is that the current school year will soon be drawing to a close. Of course, children spend much of the academic year looking forward to summer vacation, but many parents face difficulties during the summer months in regard to finding appropriate child care and keeping the kids out of trouble. For divorced, separated, or unmarried parents, the issues can be even more challenging, as summer vacation is often treated as a special circumstance in a court-approved parenting plan.

Common Arrangements

It is not unusual for a child whose parents are divorced to spend a significant portion of the summer break with the parent he or she tends to see less during the school year. Such an arrangement is actually fairly common in many parenting plans. For example, if your child resides primarily with you during the school year and spends alternating weekends with his or her other parent, the other parent may be given several straight weeks of parenting time during the summer. This type of situation, however, is not feasible for every family. Work schedules, summer camps, and other complications may require you and your child’s other parent to develop a more creative solution.

Kane County family law attorneysWhen the other parent in an allocation of parental responsibilities case is given the majority of the parenting time, it can feel like you will only rarely see your child. However, there are many things you can do to increase your time that you and your children get to spend together. Even if the court has decided it is not in the child’s best interest for you to be the primary caretaker, that does not mean you cannot play a vital role your child’s life.

Right of First Refusal

Under Illinois law, when the child lives primarily with one parent, the other parent can ask the court for the “right of first refusal” when childcare is needed. This means that before the child is put in daycare or a sitter is called, the other parent should be given the chance to be with their child instead.

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