As mentioned above, due to changes in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (the “IMDMA”) the term visitation is no longer used in the field of family law. Under the current statute, visitation is included underneath the umbrella of Parental Responsibilities. Parental Responsibilities is comprised of 2 separate categories: Decision Making Responsibility (discussed in greater detail above) and Parenting Time. Parenting Time has replaced the concept of parental visitation.
Because awards of custody are no longer made (discussed in greater detail above), there is no longer a distinction between a custodial parent and a non-custodial parent. Under the current statute, the frequency and duration of each parent’s parenting time is governed by the best interests of the child or children, not by the decision making responsibility allocated to each parent.
Parenting time schedules can vary widely from family to family, but a common parenting time schedule will involve the parents alternating parenting time every other weekend, with additional parenting time for each parent during the week. Additional weekday parenting time can range from an evening beginning after school through dinner to several overnights each week. In addition to regular weekly parenting time, a parenting plan will likely include provisions for parenting time on holidays, parenting time during a child’s breaks from school, and additional vacation parenting time for each parent.
It is important to remember that every case is different, and there is no “one-size-fits-all” parenting time schedule; However, with the assistance of an experienced and creative attorney, a satisfactory parenting time schedule can be crafted which will not only provide each parent with an appropriate amount parenting time but will also, and most importantly, serve your child’s needs.