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Posted on in 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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equal-time custody, equal-time custody arrangement, Kane County family law attorney, awarded sole custody, residential custody, visitation rights, child support obligations, Illinois custody law, equal parenting time, child's best interestsFathers’ rights advocates across the country are challenging the presumption that women make better parents. These men accuse courts of affording women preferential treatment in child custody battles and argue that "joint" custody is a joke. But family law experts counter that the so-called maternal presumption is no longer the ubiquitous standard-bearer that it was formerly.

Many states are moving toward custody outcomes that have children spending equal time with both parents. In Wisconsin, for example, state law requires courts to take this approach. Studies there show that the number of custody cases resulting in the mother as sole custodian is declining, while the number of equal-time custodians is increasing. Moreover, another study reveals that nationwide, more and more mothers are being required to pay child support.

However, equal parenting time might be on the horizon in Illinois. A bill before the General Assembly would amend the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act by adding a presumption that equal parenting time is in a child's best interests. However, if a court found that equal-time custody is not in the child's best interests, then it instead would allot a minimum of 35 percent residential time to the non-custodial parent (barring the presence of factors showing this too is not in the child's best interests). The non-custodial parent could waive this right.

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