If you are going through a divorce, or even if you’ve never been married, a child custody dispute can be highly contentious. You know your children are only young for a short time and you want to savor every precious moment. The thought of dividing up time with your ex can be heart-wrenching. Unfortunately, that is the reality when parents live in separate homes. At the Law Offices of Paul Chatzky in Northfield, we help our clients obtain workable parenting time schedules, through negotiation, mediation or litigation. We are determined to uphold your parental rights and find solutions that ensure your child’s welfare.
Parenting time refers to the time a child spends with a parent, either due to custody or visitation. How this time gets divided depends on many factors, but the overriding consideration is the “best interests of the child.” How parenting time is allocated also influences child support. If a child spends 146 or more overnights per year in the high-earning parent’s residence, that parent will pay less in child support. Courts tend to favor roughly equal parenting time and generally leave the details to the parents to sort out.
Parents must consider their availability to act as the children’s primary caregiver during these time periods:
Parents must also consider fairness in balancing the joys and tedium of parenting. One parent cannot be burdened with all the doctors’ appointments, school meetings and chauffeuring while the other celebrates birthdays and holidays. Your schedule should be detailed enough to be enforceable but flexible enough to accommodate conflicts that inevitably arise.
When parents agree on a schedule, they present it to the court for approval. If they cannot agree, they must work out their differences through mediation or in court. In some cases, parents submit competing plans and the judge decides between the two or offers a compromise. The final decision is in the judge’s hands.
Although Illinois family law has done away with the “tender years” doctrine that favored giving greater parenting time to mothers, parenting time allocation is still not generally equal. Fathers only get about 23 percent of parenting time on average. This disparity reflects the courts tendency to grant the majority of parenting time to the parent who has been the child’s primary caretaker.
A grant of parenting time comes with responsibilities for the child’s welfare, referred to in the law as “caretaking functions.” These include:
A parent’s willingness and ability to manage these tasks weighs heavily in the court’s decision to allow equal or majority parenting time.
The Law Offices of Paul Chatzky helps parents in Northfield and Skokie negotiate workable parenting time schedules that uphold their rights and serve their children’s needs. Call us today at 847-416-1646 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our offices are conveniently located at 790 West Frontage Road in Northfield, just off I-94.
Born in Havana, Cuba, Paul Chatzky is fluent in Spanish and English, enabling him to effectively represent a wider range of individuals and families. He is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, and is listed among Illinois Super Lawyers, which is a reflection of his high ethical standards and exceptional legal knowledge. As a…
Prior to joining the firm as a paralegal, Debbie was employed by major banking institutions as a loan processor and as an executive secretary. Debbie was also employed as an administrative assistant for the Board of Jewish Education. Having majored in Sociology, Debbie graduated from the University of Florida in 1980. Debbie completed her studies…