50/50 parenting time is a reality to some judges in Illinois. They begin their analysis with “let’s give each parent 50/50 time and then review the factors to determine if that should not be the case.” Although 50/50 parenting time is often requested and often granted, it is inconsistent with the current law’s emphasis on the best interests of children.
A 50/50 Parenting Time Request Shifts the Focus Away from the Best Interest of the Child
Parents requesting equal 50/50 time shifts the focus from the best interest of the children to the parents. They are asking the court to determine what is in the parent’s best interest and not so much focus on what is in the best interest of the children or family. Our current law very clearly and equitably allocates parenting time while protecting the best interests of children. An equal 50/50 or “one-size-fits-all approach” to parenting time is not always practical but sometimes is the best for our clients.
Anderson & Boback has successfully argued that 50/50 parenting time is simply not practical and works to show the court that it is important to focus on the specific circumstances of an individual family and not put the best interest of the children on the back burner. As experienced divorce lawyers we’ve also successfully argued that 50/50 parenting time is the best solution for a family when each parent needs an adequate amount of time to parent the child and not be seen as the visiting parent. No parent wants to simply visit their child, they want to take an active role in parenting their child. This can be accomplished with 50/50 parenting time.
How 50/50 Parenting Time Works
When there is 50/50 parenting time there is no home base. The children have two homes that they call their own. Parents have to understand that no matter how much you enjoy a vacation, there is always a calm when you return to your own home and your own bed.
There is no place like home.
Children with parents who are not together need to have the stability of one home base or if they have two, the parents have to be able to work very closely together to make each home a place of comfort and peace because trying to live between two households can be rootless and nomadic if it is not done property. No one wants their children to feel like they have no real home. For a child to thrive, they can’t feel like they are living in limbo. All parents want to raise their children to be productive members of society and emotionally healthy adults, so it is a must to consider a strong foundation. A strong foundation means one main home in some circumstances and dividing time equally between two homes in others.
Illinois Law Proposed Making 50/50 Parenting Time as the Starting Point
There have been changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act proposed to institute this 50/50 parenting time as a starting point. This has the potential to have a far-reaching impact by creating a rebuttable presumption that it is in the child’s best interests to award equal time to each parent in every case. This is not yet the law but some judges are of the mindset that 50/50 is where you begin the analysis.
Consult with your family law attorney if you are in a situation where the time your children spend with you is a factor in your case. It will be critical that your lawyer craft specific arguments regarding the factual circumstances of your family to either:
fit 50/50 parenting time into the law as it currently exists, or keep a ruling of 50/50 parenting time from happening. You and your children’s future may depend on it.
Contact our office today to schedule a confidential consultation about your family law matter or for guidance on Illinois’ law regarding 50/50 parenting time.