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Author Topic: Opinion Commentary on need for Law Reform on Visitation  (Read 1906 times)


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The yawning gap between common parenting practices and “visitation schedules” presumed by Illinois family courts have generated anxieties for years.   More than two decades have passed since our laws called for “the maximum involvement and cooperation of both parents” after divorce and yet “Every Other Weekend” parenting schedules for one parent are commonly awarded.  Reforms for these outdated schedules were evaluated by the Illinois Family Law Study Committee because they have been viewed as ‘child-unfriendly’ for more than a decade.

Children need reassurance within our laws that factors such as bitterness or irrational fears between their divorcing parents are not going to play a role in minimizing their access to their non-resident mom or dad.  Additionally, “standard visitation schedules” instituted in 1980s divorce courts are sending a repressive signal to today’s engaged non-resident parents, usually the fathers.

Lack of parental involvement undermines student achievement and ultimately, our economy.  Illinois’ outdated family court presumptions result in fit, caring parents being sidelined from their children’s academic efforts, extracurricular interests, and critical parent-teacher events.  Worse, costly legal battles are often unavoidable just for parents to be awarded school overnights with their child. 
A legislative reform proposed by the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) provides factors for children’s best interests that fit caring and accessible parents.  Adoption of the ISBA’s proposed parenting time factors would significantly reduce divorce-related conflicts for the 45,000 Illinois children each year who experience the breakup of their parents.

Parent-led organizations like the Children’s Rights Council of Illinois feel the ISBA proposal will help Illinois catch up to progressive states like Texas, California, and Washington State in its treatment of children of separated parents.  For our legislators, it will be an opportunity to champion the best parenting practices recommended by our nation’s top child development researchers.

Please contact CRC-IL for more information.
newbielink:http://www.crckidsillinois.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=51&Itemid=30 [nonactive]


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