Category Archives: Child Custody

Logistics of Equal Parenting Time in ActionAs discussed in our previous post, a group of Illinois lawmakers and parental rights activists are trying to change the state’s stance toward equal parenting time. The proposed legislation would instruct courts to presume that a 50/50 division of parenting time is in the best interest of the children unless the parents can prove otherwise. The change could result in an increase in the number of 50/50 parenting agreements that courts approve. However, what are the logistical consequences of equal parenting time? There are ways that such a division changes how parents construct their agreements.

Parenting Schedule

An equal division of parenting time requires a more complex parenting time schedule than with a more traditional agreement. The parents can use:

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What the Equal Parenting Time Law Would Mean in IllinoisA proposed bill in the Illinois House of Representatives has brought the debate over 50/50 parenting time arrangements to the forefront of family law discussions. The bill would create a legal presumption that it is in the best interest of children that parents have an equal share of parenting time after separation. Illinois courts currently presume the opposite when left to determine the division of parenting time. If passed, the law would be considered a win for fathers, who are less likely to receive a majority of parenting time when the time is unevenly divided.

Default Position

There is a consensus amongst parents and family law courts that children are best served when both parents are an active part of their lives. The disagreement is over how much parenting time each side needs to be an effective parent:

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Comforting Children in New Home After DivorceChildren of divorce can have difficulty adjusting to living at a parent’s new home during scheduled parenting time. An unfamiliar house or apartment is a physical manifestation of the changes happening in a child’s life after divorce. The parent in the new home must create a familiar and comforting environment for the children. The other parent should try to put the children at ease about the new living environment. Both parents should cooperate to make a smoother transition, for the betterment of their children if not for each others’ sakes.


Helping children adjust to a new parental home starts with the other parent at the primary home. Having two homes is an unfamiliar concept that likely makes the children nervous. It is also unavoidable as long as both sides have parenting time. Children can grow more comfortable with the concept and gain a sense of control by helping:

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Variables Involved in Parent's Right of First RefusalA parenting plan sets the schedule for when children stay with parents who live apart, but Illinois courts generally presume that separated parents should be able to expand their parenting time when circumstances allow it. That is why some parenting plans include a right of first refusal for each parent. Special circumstances sometimes prevent a parent from being able to watch the children during his or her scheduled parenting time. The right of first refusal requires the unavailable parent to offer the other parent a chance to watch the children before asking a third party. Separating parents may agree to this provision because they know that the children are best off being with one of them. However, there are several variables to a right of first refusal provision that can cause disagreements.


It may be impractical for a parent to be required to contact his or her co-parent every time he or she needs childcare. The co-parents must also decide how the transfer of the children would work. A right of first refusal provision includes conditions that clarify when and how the provision is used. This may include:

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When Parents' Faiths Collide After DivorceFamilies across the country have begun observing Lent, which may include periods of fasting and abstaining from vices. Parents who are serious about their faith choose to observe the Lenten traditions, while younger children are likely following the example of their parents. What if the children's parents are divorced and one chooses to not observe Lent? The parent who does observe Lent may be upset with the other parent for allowing their children to lapse in their Lenten commitments. This is just one example of how different religious beliefs can cause conflict between divorced parents. They may be less willing to tolerate each others’ differing beliefs than when they were married. Divorced parents should try to respect their religious differences for the sake of their children.

Legal Rights

In Illinois, the parent who receives a majority of the decision-making responsibilities is likely to be the one who chooses which religion the children will primarily follow. However, the other parent may still have the right to include the children in his or her own religious activities. A divorce court will not favor one parent’s religion unless it believes the religious practices are harming the children. Examples include:

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Goostree Law Group

Goostree Law Group

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St. Charles, IL 60174


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