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HomeBlogDivorceExplaining Parenting Time (formerly known as visitation) in Chicago Divorce and Paternity Cases

Explaining Parenting Time (formerly known as visitation) in Chicago Divorce and Paternity Cases

Divorce and paternity cases can be emotionally taxing, especially when having and making time with your children are involved. One of the most critical aspects to address is parenting time, formerly known as visitation. In Chicago, like many other jurisdictions, the focus has shifted from merely granting visitation rights to ensuring meaningful and equitable parenting time for both parents. Let’s delve into what this means for families navigating the legal landscape of divorce and paternity cases in the Windy City.

In Chicago, the term “parenting time” has replaced the traditional concept of visitation. This shift reflects a broader recognition of the importance of both parents’ involvement in their children’s lives post-separation. Parenting time encompasses the schedule and arrangements for children to spend time with each parent. It’s not just about the quantity of time but also the quality and nature of the parent-child relationship during those periods.

Central to any decision regarding parenting time in Chicago divorce and paternity cases is the principle of prioritizing the best interests of the child. Courts aim to ensure that children maintain strong and healthy relationships with both parents, provided it is safe and feasible to do so. Factors such as the child’s age, their relationship with each parent, their educational and extracurricular needs, and any special considerations are taken into account when determining parenting time arrangements.

Chicago courts encourage parents to work together with their legal team to develop a parenting plan that suits their unique circumstances. This plan outlines the schedule for parenting time, including weekdays, weekends, holidays, and vacations.

Whenever feasible, Chicago courts encourage parents to resolve parenting time disputes through mediation, with the guidance of your experienced family law attorney along with a neutral mediator, rather than litigation. Mediation allows parents to work with a neutral third party to reach mutually agreeable solutions, fostering cooperation and reducing conflict. Despite the emphasis on compromise, mediation and settlement of parenting time and decision-making issues, disputes over parenting time may still arise. In such cases, either parent can seek legal recourse through the court system.

In Chicago divorce and paternity cases, the concept of visitation has evolved into a more holistic approach centered on parenting time. By prioritizing the best interests of the child and encouraging cooperation between parents, the legal system aims to facilitate healthy and meaningful relationships between children and both parents, even in the aftermath of separation or divorce.

Navigating parenting time arrangements can be complex and emotionally challenging, but with the right support and guidance, parents can create arrangements that promote stability and well-being for their children. Whether through mediation, or, when necessary, court intervention, the goal remains the same: to put the needs of the children first and foster positive parent-child relationships despite the challenges of family restructuring.  Ward Family Law, LLC has a team of experienced lawyers that are well-versed in all aspects of custody, visitation, parenting time, and decision-making.  Reach out for a consultation with Jennifer Ward via email at jward@wardfamilylawchicago.com or via telephone at 312-803-5838.

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