If you have minor children, which in Illinois is usually defined as children who are less than 18 years old or have not graduated from high school, "Parenting Time" (formerly "Visitation") as it is now officially referred to, is another decision that you will need to consider. Parenting Time means the time during which a parent is responsible for exercising caretaking functions and non-significant decision-making responsibilities with respect to the children. "Visitation" now refers to the time spent between a child and a non-parent such as the child's grandparent, great-grandparent, sibling, or step-parent. Formerly, Illinois law involved "custody" and "visitation" for parents, but now both of those concepts are considered "allocation of parental responsibilities." Parenting Time is one piece of the allocation, and decision-making responsibilities (formerly "custody") is the other piece. Parenting Time may be affected by many factors, including the proximity of the parents' homes to each other after the divorce, the parents' works schedules, their prior involvement with the children and the children's needs and activities, especially within the past 24 months. Parenting Time is the actual schedule or amount of time each parent spends with their child. A "Parenting Plan" means a written agreement that allocates significant decision-making responsibilities, parenting time, or both. The underlying presumption is that children need both parents, even after a divorce, unless certain facts exist that would make such contact harmful for the children. The fact that someone made a lousy spouse, may, but does not necessarily mean, that parent should not spend time with the children. Families and their interrelationships are unique and can be complex. We will work with you to present parenting time schedules and options that are structured to meet your families' needs and circumstances. What works for one family, will not necessarily work for another.
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