Kids love the summertime. There is no school, they get to spend time with friends, go to summer camps, and spend hours on electronic devices. At the same time, summers can be tough on children and their separated parents. This is because both parents sometime have plans and desires for their children that conflict with each other. One may want extensive family time, while the other does not want the children to leave. Or both may have vacation plans with the children that overlap. As a family law attorney, I have seen many battles arise over summer and holiday visitation. If you are facing this situation, you need legal assistance to explore your options.
Extended Family Time By Agreement
Family law exists to create certainty in the face of divorce or child custody matters. If you are separating or separated from your children’s other parent, you should contact a family law attorney to help you reach an agreement about custody and family time. Otherwise, there is no enforceable structure in place regarding who gets the children and when.
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides guidelines for child custody and parenting time (sometimes referred to as visitation). Public policy dictates that both parents shall have ample visitation and access to their children, unless one of the parents has somehow demonstrated some inappropriate conduct that speaks ill of their fitness as a parent (i.e., domestic violence or child abuse).
The Illinois guidelines encourage parents to reach agreements regarding the custody of children, and for courts to approve of these agreements. In fact, most parenting time schedules are based on an agreement by the children’s parents. Even in the case of reaching an agreement, it is prudent for each parent to hire an attorney. This is because custody and parenting time agreements need to be as specific as possible to create predictability and enforceability. Good lawyers will help craft calendars that take into account summer visitation.
Regarding the summer, parenting time schedules will often call for a non-custodial parent to have extended visitation for up to six weeks while the child is out of school during this extended break. This is to give that parent an opportunity for a stretch of time with their children that they cannot get while the children are in school. Longer visits become more prevalent the further the distance the parents live from one another.
In addition, well-planned schedules will still allow for the parent who has primary care to have enough time to take the children on a vacation. Schedules can also allow for parents to exchange time, allow for make-up time, or alternate summers in order to create fairness and flexibility. Parents and their attorneys can be quite creative in crafting a fair, specific summer visitation schedule that serves their children’s best interest.
When parents cannot agree to a plan, or when one parent fails to comply with an existing parenting schedule, it then becomes necessary to seek orders from a court. Courts will make their determinations based on the children’s best interest.
Contact The Law Offices of Robert S. Thomas
If you are separating, seeking a divorce, or are facing a child custody dispute, you need an attorney. Children need stability and certainty when their parents separate, and an attorney can help attain those goals. Contact the Law Offices of Robert S. Thomas. I have handled all manners of family law cases for over two decades. I understand how difficult this time is for you and will fight for your future by preserving your legal rights. Contact my office at 847-392-5893 for an appointment or visit our website today.