Parenting Time and Visitation Attorneys in Chicago
When parents make the difficult decision to no longer stay together or divorce, issues arise involving parenting time and visitation. Seeking legal guidance from a parenting time and visitation attorney is an important step to devising a parenting plan that works for you and your children. For parents in Chicago, parenting time with their children can take many forms. A parenting time schedule is based on many factors but must fit the best interest of the children. Unless the parents come up with an agreed-upon parenting plan approved by the court, the court will use several factors in determining a parenting schedule. It is generally advisable for the parents to come up with a parenting time schedule as they are the ones who know their child best and understands their lifestyle and schedules.
If the parents cannot agree and turn this decision over to the court, it is often difficult to obtain a schedule that will suit both parents and the child. The court will consider the child first and put a schedule in place that is in their best interest taking into consideration such things as:
- the wishes of each parent
- the wishes of the child, taking into account the child’s maturity and ability to express reasoned and independent preferences as to parenting time;
- How much each parent has spent with the child in the 24 months before the case was filed;
- the interaction of the child with the parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interests;
- the child’s adjustment their home, school, and community;
- the mental and physical health of parents and child;
- the child’s needs;
- the distance between the parents’ residences, the cost and difficulty of transporting the child, each parent’s and the child’s daily schedules, and the ability of the parents to cooperate in the arrangement;
- whether a restriction on parenting time is appropriate;
- the physical violence or threat of physical violence by the child’s parent directed against the child or other member of the child’s household;
- the willingness of each parent to place the needs of the child ahead of their own needs;
- the willingness of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close relationship between the other parent and the child;
- the occurrence of abuse against the child or other member of the child’s household;
- is a parent a convicted sex offender or live with a convicted sex offender; and
- the terms of a parent’s military family-care plan.
Overall Process of Getting a Parenting Time Schedule in Chicago
In the event the parents cannot reach an agreement for a parenting time schedule, they are required to go to mediation to come up with a schedule. Since mediation is required, there is often a backlog and this step takes time to get to the mediation services provided by the County. However, you can obtain permission from the court to retain a private mediator and get to the mediation much quicker. If the mediation is not successful, you can then as the Court to hear testimony and rule on a parenting time schedule. The court will likely appoint a Guardian Ad Litem to meet with the parties and the child and then provide recommendations to the Court based on their investigation. The parents will be required to provide testimony in court on the sixteen factors listed and any other relevant information to provide the court with the necessary evidence to order a parenting time schedule. After the testimony is presented at trial the court will take what they have heard under consideration and provide a ruling which may take several days, several weeks or several months. Depending on the length of the trial and the amount of testimony presented and the number of witnesses.
Types of Parenting Time and Visitation Disputes Our Child Custody Attorneys Handle
It is common for one parent to believe that the other parent should not have a regular parenting time schedule and should have restricted or limited parenting time with the children due to mental health issues, substance abuse or history of abuse and/or neglect. This requires additional testimony, information, and investigation but can be done. Another common type is where the parents live in different states and a schedule has to be fashioned to provide for transportation as well as the cost of transportation. Another common scenario is where one party wants 50% of the time and that will look different with each family since each family has its own specific schedules, routines, and needs.
Why You Need an Experienced Child Custody Attorney to Help You with Parenting Time Plans and Issues
It is important to have an experienced Child Custody Attorney to help you with this process so that you can make sure your case is prepared and ready to present to the court in the event you cannot reach an agreement and must ask the court to decide. You must start very early getting things lined up and prepared for this, just in case. Your attorney will provide you with what will be important to the court and what should and should not be done and said during the pendency of your case to work towards the best outcome for you in the event you end up in a trial about parenting time.
Anderson & Boback Family Law Attorneys Can Help You if You are Facing Parenting Time Issues
The Anderson and Boback Family Law Attorneys are here to help Chicago parents at all stages of the process of working out a parenting time plan – whether you are in mediation, just getting started discussing with the other parent, or are working with a Guardian Ad Litem. At all stages of the parenting time and visitation process, we provide you with a complete road map of things that need to be done, not done, documented, change, kept in place, etc. Our goal is to always work with you to determine what your best outcome is and then make a plan of action to get there.