What used to be called "visitation" is now called "parenting time" in Illinois law. When an unmarried couple has a child or a married couple with children divorces, the parents describe the parenting time schedule in their parenting plan.
Reaching a parenting schedule that works for both parents and meets the child's needs is not easy. It is important to take the time to get it right. Here are five questions that parents should ask themselves when developing a parenting time schedule.
Both parents need to realistically assess their work and travel commitments, as well as those of the other parent, and make sure that the proposed parenting time schedule is practical. If travel or work commitments make it difficult for one parent to stick to the proposed plan, then modifications may need to be made.
Under Illinois law, when one parent is unable to be present for parenting time due to travel or other commitments, the other has the right of first refusal. This means that this parent must offer the parenting time to the non-traveling parent before offering it to a third party. Make sure you include details about how and when the right of first refusal applies in your case. For example, you may want to require the traveling parent to call the other parent as soon as travel plans are confirmed.
Understandably, many parents worry that dividing parenting time will reduce the amount of time they spend with their children. You should work to make sure that the parenting time schedule gives both parents enough quality time with the children so that neither parent feels left out.
Make sure to include details about how holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions will be celebrated. For example, you may wish to create alternating schedules or split the holiday or special occasion in half.
It is important to create a plan for when either parent wants to take the child on vacation. You should stipulate how much advance notice must be given, the duration of the vacation, and rules for how the child will communicate with the other parent during the vacation.
At J. Aldrich Law, P.C., we understand the importance of creating an effective parenting time schedule that meets everyone’s needs. Our experienced Naperville child custody attorneys are here to provide the legal guidance you need. Call 630-953-3000 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.