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Can shared-parenting resolve child custody battles in Illinois?

A divorcing parent who hopes to share as much time with their children as their spouse will after a divorce might get their wish if House Bill 5425 gets approval. The bill will require judges presiding over divorce cases in Illinois to award the non-custodial parent at least 60 hours with the children every week, provided the parent is declared fit. Typically, non-custodial parents receive awards of less than 30 hours per week, so this bill could effectively double the amount of time they get to spend with their children.

The representative sponsoring the bill stated on Monday that he hopes the bill moves through this week. Advocacy groups in support of parents' rights urged lawmakers to pass the bill by rallying at the Capitol on Monday morning. Those who support the bill state that equal shared-parenting time gives children the opportunity to develop a better relationship with each parent. Supporters also believe the proposed bill could help reduce contentious battles that can sometimes occur during the custody settlement process.

Those opposed to the bill claim the proposal is simply a catch-all solution that does not adequately address any unique aspects related to individual child custody cases. These opponents advocate for giving judges discretion in creating parenting plans that address the best interests of the children in each case.

In nearly all situations, divorcing parents don't want to lose any time with their children. While this is a respectable position, it can sometimes lead to heated conflicts between two parents who love their children. Most child custody disputes require sound legal advice and should never be taken lightly, but it is yet to be seen whether this proposed bill will be the solution every divorcing parent hopes for.

Source: The State Journal-Register, "Sponsor of shared-parenting bill hopeful of movement this week" Tobias Wall, Apr. 07, 2014

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