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Illinois Law on Child Custody and Visitation May Change

Earlier this year, a package of modifications to Illinois divorce, child custody and visitation laws was proposed.  This bill was called a complete re-write of Illinois laws on divorce, child support, child custody and visitation.  While the bill is less than its initial ambitions, it does make some major changes to child custody and visitation law in Illinois.  I would say not all of the changes are positive.

The new bill creates a presumption that every parent should have at least 35% of the total parenting time.  The modifications would stop using the terms custody and visitation and instead allocate “parenting time.”  The problem with this is that it does not seem to go far enough in defining time.  What is parenting time and what constitutes 35%.  Are we talking about the hours a parent has custody?  What if the children are sleeping?  Do nights count?  Are we talking about 35% of overnights?

There are too many questions and not enough answers as a result of the proposed legislation.  Issues of child custody and visitation in Illinois will become more difficult to resolve instead of less so (the goal of the legislation).  People will argue about what does and does not count as parenting time.  If the 35% means overnights, then children will necessarily end up spending school nights with the typically non-custodial parent, which could cause considerable stress on the children and parents alike unless everybody lives very close by.

As I’ve stated regarding other aspects of this proposed bill, it seems poorly thought out and significantly less specific than it needs to be.  They need to go back to the drawing board to flesh out their ides.  House Bill 1452 simply isn’t ready.

If your involved in a divorce or have disputes about child custody or visitation in Illinois, please visit my website and contact me for a consultation.