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Every year, approximately 1.5 million children are forced to endure the divorce of their parents. As difficult as the new reality can be for children, it can be just as stressful—if not more so—for the adults, with each parent struggling to find ways to remain an active part of their child’s life. When a parent approaches the process of divorce, he or she may wonder what his or her rights are regarding parenting time with his or her children.

Visitation Is Now Parenting Time

For many years, a non-custodial parent could expect reasonable rights to visitation with his or her child, presuming that the parent was not found to present a danger to the child. Beginning this year, new legislation in Illinois overhauled the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act and its provisions regarding child custody and visitation. Child custody has been renamed the allocation of parental responsibilities and parental visitation is now known as parenting time. The intent of the updates was to make such proceedings less confrontational and more cooperative, keeping the focus on the child best interests of the child as much as possible.

Reasonable Rights

Despite major changes to the terminology in the law, the presumed rights of a parent are still largely the same. All legal parents—including those who have been allocated relatively few or no decision-making responsibilities—are entitled to reasonable rights of parenting time with their children. The law does not specify what a reasonable parenting time schedule looks like. Instead, parents are encouraged to develop a plan that works best for their unique situation and that meets their children’s needs.

Limiting Parenting Time

It is presumed that active participation by both parents, regardless of assigned parental responsibilities, in the child’s life is best. There are situations, however, in which the court may impose limitations on one party’s parenting time. If the court finds that the child would be in physical, mental, emotional, or moral danger during a parent’s parenting time, limitations and restrictions may be put in place. For example, if a parent’s substance abuse problem is determined to present a danger to the child, the court could require that his or her parenting time be exercised under the supervision of the other parent or a third party.

Protect Your Rights

If you are concerned about how your impending divorce could affect your relationship with your child, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney. Call 847-426-1866 or 630-945-8807 to speak with a member of the team at Pucci Pirtle today.