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Illinois bill would greatly increase noncustodial parents' hours

Couples who choose to end their marriage often face a number of issues. Chief among those tends to be child custody. Parents must decide, sometimes with the help of a judge or attorneys, with whom the child will live and how time will be split. A new bill in Illinois would set new standards and increase visitation rights for noncustodial parents.

Currently, Illinois courts typically allot parents who do not have custody with four hours of visitation every week and a visit every other weekend. That equates to less than 30 hours that a parent is able to spend time with his or her children. A bill that is in the state House would up those limits to almost 60 hours every week, as long as the individual is declared fit to be a parent.

The bill proposes that a noncustodial individual get 35 percent of the parenting time every week. Additionally, it gives parents 90 days to come up with their own shared custody plan, noting that courts would only get involved if the couple cannot reach an agreement. A member of Illinois Fathers said that the current court orders make bonding difficult. However, the Illinois State Bar Association argues that having such standards may not be helpful due to the way parent-child relationships change over time.

Advocates maintain that the shared parenting bill would encourage parents to keep custody battles to a minimum and prevent children from becoming pawns in an argument. It is important for parents who are disputing custody to work with attorneys who are well-versed in how state laws apply to their case. 

Source: The State Journal Register, "'Shared Parenting' bill would set new visitation rules," Tobias Wall, March 19, 2014 

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