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How an Equal Parenting Time Law Could Change Divorce Cases in Illinois

Posted on in Child Custody

Wheaton divorce attorney equal parenting timeDuring divorce, many of the most contentious disputes between spouses involve decisions made about their children, including how they will share parenting time and parental responsibility. For many years, it was presumed that living primarily with one parent was in children’s best interests. However, a number of recent studies have found that it is beneficial for both parents to be closely involved in their children’s lives. With that in mind, many states, including Illinois, have passed or are considering legislation that would presume that children should spend equal amounts of parenting time with each parent following divorce.

Illinois’ Possible Equal Parenting Law

The Illinois House of Representatives is currently considering a bill which would affect the decisions made about parental responsibility and parenting time in divorce cases. HB 4113 would make the following changes to Illinois’ divorce laws: 

  • The law would presume that awarding equal parenting time to parents is in children’s best interests.
  • Before restricting a parent’s parenting time, clear and convincing evidence would need to be presented to demonstrate that children’s physical, mental, or emotional health would be at risk. Currently, the law uses a “preponderance of the evidence” standard, and this change would require stronger evidence before making any restrictions.
  • If a divorce court judge decides to deviate from the presumption of equal parenting time, they would be required to provide a written statement of the reasons for this deviation, including specific facts and conclusions that influenced the decision.

Fathers’ rights advocates and other proponents of this change to the law believe that it will allow both parents to maintain a continuing presence in their children’s lives, providing a better overall environment for children. However, opponents of the bill believe that it would result in more contentious disputes between parents, leading to more divorce litigation and less cooperation. Advocates for victims of domestic violence also believe that the law would remove some protections against a spouse who is abusive.

Contact a Wheaton, IL Divorce Lawyer

The decisions made about parenting time do not only influence parents’ relationships with their children; they also affect the amount of child support that a parent may be required to provide for their children. If you need help advocating for your rights to parenting time in your divorce case, the experienced, compassionate attorneys of Anderson and Associates, P.C. can work with you to reach a resolution that protects your children’s best interests. Contact a DuPage County divorce attorney at 630-653-9400 to arrange a free consultation.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocTypeID=HB&DocNum=4113&GAID=14&SessionID=91&LegID=108029

https://www.ilnews.org/news/justice/equal-parenting-laws-up-for-debate-in-springfield/article_1620e700-3900-11e8-864a-6f325b17792b.html

http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/barrington/community/chi-ugc-article-proposed-5050-visitation-bill-a-court-enfor-2018-04-17-story.html

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