Parental Responsibilities and Child Visitation Rights

Parental Responsibilities and Child Visitation Rights

Family life is woven with moments of joy, love, and shared experiences. However, when the threads of a family unit unravel, navigating the legal landscape surrounding parental responsibilities and child visitation can feel overwhelming. In Illinois, the terminology surrounding these matters has changed, moving away from “custody” and “visitation” to focus on the broader concept of “parental responsibilities.” This shift reflects the importance of both parents’ remaining actively involved in their child’s life, even when living apart.

Under Section 602.8 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, provisions are made regarding visitation rights for a parent who does not have custody (or physical possession) of their child. As per this act, any parent not granted custody or designated as the residential parent for a child is “entitled to reasonable parenting time with the child unless the court finds the parenting time would endanger the child’s mental, moral or physical health.” Essentially, the law presumes that the non-custodial parent has reasonable visitation rights in Illinois with the child, and the only method to contest this presumption is for the custodial parent to file a motion with the court requesting a change.

Contact Wolfe & Stec at 630-305-0222 to schedule a confidential consultation and take the first step toward securing your rights and future.

What Are Parental Responsibilities?

The concept of “custody” is no longer used in Illinois laws concerning the well-being of children in divorce cases. This shift is due to the implication that the children exclusively belong to the parent granted custody. Instead, Illinois law now employs the terms “allocation of parental responsibility” and “allocation of parenting time” when addressing decisions related to children in divorce proceedings.

1. Decision-Making Authority

Illinois recognizes four major areas of decision-making authority: education, health care, religion, and extracurricular activities. Courts aim to allocate decision-making responsibilities based on the child’s best interests, considering factors such as the parent’s ability to cooperate and communicate.

2. Parenting Time (Visitation)

Parenting time refers to the actual physical time each parent spends with the child. Courts strive to create a parenting plan that maximizes the child’s time with each parent while maintaining stability and routine.

Factors Guiding the Courts in Determining Parental Responsibilities and Visitation

When determining parental responsibilities, Illinois courts consider various factors, including:

  • Parental Preferences: The courts consider the parents’ preferences regarding parental responsibilities and visitation arrangements. However, the desires of the parents are not the sole determining factor, as the focus remains on the child’s best interests.
  • Child’s Wishes and Maturity: If the child is of sufficient age and maturity, the court may consider their parental responsibilities and visitation preferences. The judge evaluates the child’s ability to express their desires and the rationale behind their preferences.
  • Child’s Relationships: The quality of the child’s relationships with each parent, siblings, and other significant individuals in their life is carefully evaluated. Courts assess the strength of the emotional bonds and the impact of separation on these relationships.
  • Mental and Physical Health: The mental and physical health of all parties involved, including the child and parents, is crucial. Courts assess each parent’s ability to provide a safe and nurturing environment for the child’s overall well-being.
  • Child’s Adjustment: The child’s home, school, and community adjustment is vital to the court’s decision-making process. Judges consider the potential disruption caused by changes in parental responsibilities and visitation arrangements.
  • History of Violence or Abuse: Any past or ongoing acts of violence or abuse by either parent against the other parent or the child are carefully scrutinized by the courts. The safety and welfare of the child are paramount, and measures to protect the child from harm are prioritized.
  • Parental Military Service: For parents serving in the military, the terms of a parent’s military family care plan are taken into account. Courts assess the availability of suitable caregiving arrangements for the child during periods of deployment or military service.
  • Willingness to Facilitate Parent-Child Relationship: The willingness of each parent to foster and facilitate a positive relationship between the child and the other parent is a significant factor. Courts value cooperation and the ability of parents to put the child’s needs above personal conflicts.

How Can Wolfe & Stec Help You With Your Case?

At Wolfe & Stec, our experienced Illinois family law attorneys understand the complexities of navigating parental responsibilities and child visitation rights cases. We are dedicated to protecting children’s best interests while advocating for your rights as a parent.

Comprehensive Legal Representation

Our experienced attorneys understand Illinois family law and the intricacies of parental responsibilities and visitation rights. We will take the time to understand your specific circumstances, goals for your child’s well-being, and the relevant factors to your case. Based on this in-depth analysis, we develop a personalized legal strategy that aligns with your objectives and effectively represents your best interests within the Illinois legal system.

We’ll Gather All Available Evidence

We can help you gather evidence that supports your position, such as documentation of your relationship with your child, your ability to care for them, and any potential concerns about the other parent’s suitability.

Negotiation and Mediation On Your Behalf

We understand the importance of seeking amicable solutions when possible. Our skilled negotiators will work collaboratively to reach mutually beneficial agreements regarding visitation schedules, parental responsibilities and parenting time, and other crucial aspects of your case. We can also guide you through the mediation process to find common ground with the other parent and protect your parental rights under Illinois Family law.

We’ll Fight for You in Litigation

We are prepared to represent you diligently in court hearings and trials when negotiation is impossible. Our lawyers possess extensive courtroom experience and are adept at advocating for your rights and presenting your case effectively before the judge.

Compassionate Support and Collaborative Approach

We understand the emotional weight of navigating these legal matters. Our team provides empathetic support throughout the process, recognizing your emotional journey and fostering trust through clear and consistent communication. We believe in empowering you to actively participate in decisions affecting your child’s future, fostering a collaborative environment that leads to better outcomes for all involved.

Contact Wolfe & Stec for Guidance Today

At Wolfe & Stec, we recognize that family dynamics can be intricate, and addressing parental responsibilities and Illinois family law issues requires a delicate and nuanced approach. Our dedicated team of family law lawyers is here to guide you through this complex journey, ensuring that your child’s best interests remain paramount.

Contact us at 630-305-0222 for a free consultation.

Attorney Marc Wolfe

Marc Wolfe has been representing clients in criminal matters in Chicago and the entire State of Illinois for over 30 years. Mr. Wolfe has tried over 300 cases to verdict and represents clients facing investigation or prosecution for a broad range of state and federal criminal offenses, including murder, embezzlement, sexual abuse, drugs, marijuana and white collar crimes. [ Attorney Bio ]