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Amendment to Illinois law regulating parenting time proposed

For Illinois parents who have parted ways, custody and visitation is often one of the most difficult issues for them to hash out. Determining which parent will be the custodial parent, what the visitation plan will be, and how to assess best interests of children are just some of the factors that must be decided. Fathers frequently believe they face an unfair bias when parenting time and custody is allocated. A proposed change to the law seeks to make the process fairer to fathers and give them 50-50 custody is being considered.

If the changes are implemented, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Act will give each parent equal custody of the child. Those supporting this amendment believe that it will do away with ingrained perceptions that one parent is in a better position to provide adequate care to the child over the other parent. In addition, it will give fathers the chance to have greater involvement in the lives of their children.

Opposition to this change say that the 50-50 split would harm the children as they would be forced to do a significant amount of moving back and forth - something that is not the case if the custody split is not mandated to be halved. A separate concern is if there is abuse in the parental relationship and would present a disadvantage to the children. Supporters of the amendment say that the judge in a child custody case should have the power to decide to alter the parenting time even if there is a 50-50 custody plan from the beginning. Illinois is one of 35 states that are examining this proposal.

Parents who are considering their options with child custody and visitation should keep track of possible changes to the law. Just recently, the state did away with the designations of "custody" and "visitation" to eliminate the idea that one parent was defeating the other parent with the child the prize. Should this change be implemented, it will further alter how child custody is handled in the state. Regardless of the situation, parents who are embroiled in a child custody disagreement should make certain they have legal assistance from an attorney who is well-versed in handling the allocation of parental responsibilities.

Source: nprillinois.com, "'Equal Parenting Time' Proposal Stirring Debate In Illinois," Daisy Contreras, Feb. 8, 2018

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