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What the Equal Parenting Time Law Would Mean in Illinois

Posted on in Child Custody

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:

  • Supporters of 50/50 parenting time believe that it is the fairest way to ensure that both sides have equal rights as parents; and
  • Supporters of uneven parenting time believe that a 60/40 or 70/30 division is more practical for everyone and still allows ample parenting time for both sides.

It is currently possible for parents to receive a 50/50 division of parenting time. Courts presume that giving one parent a majority of the parenting time is in the best interest of the children unless parents give them convincing evidence that equal parenting time is better. The new law would reverse this presumption so that parents must explain why an uneven division of parenting time is better for their children. Courts may be easily persuaded to grant one parent a majority of parenting time, but the new default position would increase the likelihood that courts would grant equal parenting time.

Rebuttable Presumption

The new law would not change the list of factors that courts are advised to consider when determining the best interest of children. When rebutting the presumption of equal parenting time, parents could explain:

  • How the distance between each other will affect child exchanges;
  • The ability of each parent to provide a healthy living environment;
  • The willingness and availability of each parent to perform his or her parental duties;
  • Any special needs that a child may have; and
  • The wishes of the parents and the children.

Finding What Works 

The presumed division of parenting time is rebuttable because varying circumstances may require different solutions. A Kane County family law attorney at Goostree Law Group can help you create a parenting plan that best suits your situation. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800.


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