Enacted at the beginning of 2016, several modifications were made to Illinois’ family laws. Those that affect children – now known as parenting time (visitation) and the allocation of parental responsibilities (custody) were among some of the most drastically altered. Some feared these changes. Others wondered why they were made. Most moved forward with uncertainty.
With the year now nearly over, many families can look back and see the benefits that they reaped from the changes. In fact, a large percentage have managed to come through divorce with a happy, healthy family this past year. Some may not understand why this effect exists, but others can see things clearly: both parents are being given the right to have an active role in their child’s life.
Understanding the Changes
At first glance, it would appear that only the terms used to describe child-related issues changed. However, there are subtle differences – small aspects that have made a huge impact on families. For example, parents must now submit a parenting plan to the court. This legal document outlines the amount of decision-making each parent will have and when they will each spend time with their child. Both parents must agree and a judge must sign off before it is entered into the divorce decree. If contention arises, then the parents go to mediation to try and resolve their issues. If still unable to agree, the judge will determine the parameters of the parenting plan.
Why the Changes Matter
When divorce laws were first created, not much was known about child development. In fact, many simply assumed that a child needed its mother and that the father – though a breadwinner – was not all that important in the grand scheme of things. Years of research have proven this theory wrong. Fathers can have a significant impact on their child’s cognitive and language development. Studies have also found that children who have nurturing and active fathers are more likely to perform well in school than those who do not have an active, present, or nurturing father. Fathers are even said to play a key role in the way that their child socially interacts with others.
The changes have acknowledged the importance of fathers in the life of children by giving them more rights than they have ever had. They are more likely to receive nearly equal parenting time as the mother, and they often receive equal decision-making power in their child’s life. This means that fathers are getting a say in where their child goes to school, if and when they should receive a certain medical procedure, or if and when they can move to a location that would negatively impact the time that they spend with their child. As a result, children and entire families are finding a healthy side of divorce.
Get Skilled Assistance with Your Parenting Plan and Divorce
It is not easy to think about splitting time with your child. It can also be complicated to ensure you have covered all of your bases when crafting your parenting plan. Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C. help take the guesswork out of parenting plans. We advocate for children, ensuring their best interests are protected. We also serve as compassionate advocates to the parents who are struggling with the complex process of divorce. Learn more about how we can help with your case by scheduling your consultation with our Naperville family law attorneys. Call us at 630-665-7676 today.
https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/fatherhood.pdf#page=19&view=CHAPTER 2 Fathers and Their Impact on Children’s Well-being