When parents in Illinois separate, they may have to reach a custody agreement. In many cases, one parent has primary custody while the other has visitation rights to their child. A visitation schedule is the exact calendar of when the child will spend time with each parent.
If the parents live some distance apart, they might not be able to reach an agreement about the visitation schedule. In such instances, the court could step in and create the schedule. Judges generally take the position that children should spend time with both parents. In cases of abuse or neglect, however, one parent might be limited only to supervised visitation. A court might also create the schedule if the parents share custody.
As part of the final custody agreement, the courts decide where the child will spend holidays since this is often a point of contention. Child custody schedules may change over time. For example, when a child gets older and is able to express a preference, this might be taken into account.
Another major issue is that of child support. Usually, the noncustodial parent pays support to the custodial parent. When determining the payment amount, courts will take a parent’s income, the number of children and the family’s past standard of living. If a parent’s income drops and they are no longer able to pay the amount originally ordered, a child support modification may be necessary. Legal counsel could help with this process. An attorney could also provide assistance to a custodial parent if the noncustodial parent neglects to pay alimony.