Children who have divorced parents in Illinois often do not see one parent nearly as often as the other. In fact, the laws in the state are set up so that they will get to be with the parent who did not win the child custody case for just four hours during each week -- an afternoon, essentially. The child also goes back and forth every other weekend from one parent to the other. Still, with just 112 hours of total time with the non-custodial parent out of an entire month -- 48 for each weekend and 16 during all four weeks -- it is clear that the child spends far less time there than with the other parent.
This can lead to all manner of family issues down the line. There can be emotional troubles for the child, who may feel as though he or she is just growing up with one parent. There can be emotional issues for the parent, who may feel as though he or she has lost a child for the vast majority of the time. On top of that, bonding between the two is something that might not happen. This could cause the child to prefer one parent over the other, which often is not fair.
A new bill, called the Shared Parenting Bill, could change how the system is set up. If this bill is voted in, parents would be allowed to come up with their own schedule. If they are not able to come to an agreement after 90 days, the court would make a ruling, but they could not give less than 35 percent of the time to one parent. The judge would have the ability to raise that to a 50-50 split if he or she saw fit to do so.
The rights of a child have to be considered in these cases, and the best arrangement for that child has to be made. Those facing child custody battles may benefit from the advice of an experienced family law attorney who can protect the rights of a parent and his or her children.
Source: Rockford Register Star, "My View: Children need both parents; support Shared Parenting Bill" No author given, Mar. 08, 2014