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Will Illinois Pass a Shared Parenting Law?

Posted on in Child Custody

Schaumburg divorce attorney, parenting time, shared parenting law, allocation of parental responsibilities, child custodyWhen parents decide to divorce, the ensuing changes to their lives can be highly disruptive and stressful for the entire family. As children adjust to living in two separate households, it is important for both parents to be involved in their lives and provide them with the emotional support they need. Unfortunately, this can be difficult when one parent retains sole or primary custody of children.

Studies Show the Benefits of Equal Parenting Time

For many years, it was assumed that it was in children’s best interests to live primarily with one parent, and that dividing time between two households would cause them stress. However, a number of recent studies have found the opposite to be true. Researchers in Sweden found that children in shared parenting arrangements had less stress, fewer psychological problems, and better physical health than children who lived primarily with one parent.

Multiple other studies have recommended that shared parenting should be the norm following divorce. Most psychologists agree that it is better for children to maintain a good relationship with both parents, since each parent can provide unique benefits to their children’s physical and emotional development. For instance, fathers are likely to play with their kids physically, which helps them understand their bodies and regulate their emotions. Mothers, on the other hand, can often help children learn to reason and socialize with others.

Proposed Changes to Illinois Law

In response to these studies and changing attitudes about parents’ roles in raising their children, advocacy groups have been pushing for new laws which would treat equal custody as a starting point during divorce. Multiple states are considering or have already implemented this type of legislation, including Missouri, Kentucky, and Michigan.

HB 4113, which is currently being considered by the Illinois House of Representatives, would make the following changes to Illinois’ divorce statutes:

  • The law will state that children should have the opportunity to maintain and strengthen their relationship with both parents, and it is presumed that equal time with both parents is in children’s best interests.

  • The law will require courts to have clear and convincing evidence that children’s physical or emotional health is in danger before placing restrictions on a parent’s parenting time. Currently, the law only requires a preponderance of the evidence, and this change would require courts to meet a more rigorous standard.

  • If a court makes a decision that deviates from the presumption of equal parenting time, the law will require the court to issue a written statement that lists the facts and conclusions that support the necessity of this deviation.

Contact an Arlington Heights Divorce Lawyer

While Illinois laws may change to recognize the benefits of shared parenting in the future, the law currently does not presume that both parents will have equal parental responsibility and parenting time with their children.

During divorce, it is important to have a skilled attorney on your side who can protect your rights and advocate for your children’s best interests. At Anderson & Associates, P.C., we can help you create a parenting plan that ensures your children will have the support they need from both parents. Contact a Schaumburg divorce attorney at 847-995-9999 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://nationalparentsorganization.org/2015-07-16-13-55-58/news-releases/23679-pediatric-journal-shared-parenting-post-divorce-best-for-children-s-health-of-all-ages

http://www.wthitv.com/content/news/Illinois-group-hopes-to-pass-child-custody-law-461340823.html

http://time.com/4512797/brangelina-shared-custody-divorce/

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocTypeID=HB&DocNum=4113&GAID=14&SessionID=91&LegID=108029

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