You can create your own custody and visitation schedule (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own schedule, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates custody schedules, calendars, and professional parenting plan documents.to see how it can help you.
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The State of Illinois has laws pertaining to the custody and visitation of children which should be kept in mind when creating a child visitation schedule in the state.
The laws can be found in the Illinois Compiled Statutes, Chapter 750, Families.
There are statutes in place defining the types of custody, mandating the submission of a parenting plan and what that plan should include, and designating what factors the court considers when making a ruling on custody.
The law even has specific rules about visitation for non-parents, enabling grandparents, siblings, and other relatives the ability to petition the court for visitation
It is important to be aware of the laws in order to create a child visitation schedule that is in compliance with the law and also to be prepared for the child custody process.
In any legal action involving custody of a child in the State of Illinois, parents are required to submit a Joint Parenting Agreement to the court (750 ILCS 5/602.1). The court will then attach a child visitation schedule, or custody schedule, to the agreement.
The child visitation schedule can be written by the parents or the court will provide one if you fail to come to an agreement.
It is always better for you to make every effort to work together when creating a child visitation schedule, as you are intimately aware of the needs of your child and the availability of each parent.
The court does not have the time or resources available to become acquainted with the needs of every child in a custody proceeding, and often times issues a "standard" schedule as the court order when parents cannot agree. A "standard" schedule may or may not be in the best interests of your child, depending on your circumstances.
Creating your own schedule ensures the child visitation schedule will accommodate both of the parents' schedules and be what is best for your child.
The State of Illinois does not have a presumption in favor of or against joint custody, but does presume that the maximum participation and involvement in a child's life by each parent is beneficial to the child, as long as the parents are not a danger to the child (750 ILCS 5/602c).
Parental rights are not severed when parents separate or live apart from each other (750 ILCS 5/602.1a), so unless the court finds a good reason as to why a parent should not be entitled to joint custody, it will be granted.
Parents that are perpetrators of domestic violence, sex offenders, murderers, etc. are obviously not considered to be people capable of properly raising a child, and the court is very stringent about protecting children from these types of people.
Those offenders will be fortunate to be awarded supervised visitation, if any at all. Therefore, if you and the other parent are not child abusers, drug addicts, sex offenders, etc., it is highly probable that you will be awarded joint custody.
There are a few factors the court considers when making a decision on joint custody, found in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/602.1c). The court will consider:
Sharing joint custody mean that both parents will share responsibilities for making important decisions in the child's life. Until your child reaches adulthood, decisions will need to be made regarding the child's religious upbringing, the child's school and educational needs, the child's health and medical care, and many other aspects of the child's life.
Although you and the other parent may not have been able to agree on many things, (hence the reason for the separation), it is crucial that you make every effort to set animosities aside and form a parenting partnership.
Sharing joint custody in the State of Illinois does not necessarily mean that the parents will need to share the child's time equally (750 ILCS 5/602.1d), but you may do so if you would like.
Part VI in Section 5 of Chapter 750 has a list of factors that the court considers when it determines what is in the best interest of the child. Here are the factors and some ways that they can influence your schedule:
These factors can aid you in creating a schedule that is best for your child. It's good to think about all aspects of your child's life as you make a calendar of where your child will be.
If you can make a schedule that supports your child's needs, you will find that your child will adjust much more quickly to the new family situation. This can help relieve you of stress concerning your child.
There is no right or wrong schedule as long as the needs and best interests of your child are being met. Your child visitation schedule can be as unique as your child, but there are a few elements that your child visitation schedule should include:
Your child visitation schedule should be created with the child's best interests as the main priority and written in a manner that optimizes the amount of quality time the child has with each parent.
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