Divorced Parents Look for Creative Ways to Share Parenting Time
Few people walk away from a divorce happy. Children are especially affected when their parents sever ties — children often feel alone and isolated. In response to these emotions, children tend to withdrawal or act out.
Many states, Illinois included, require parents who are involved in active visitation cases to attend parenting classes. These classes aim to teach parents effective communication skills to help their children better adapt to the changing family situation. Additionally, the classes can help to reduce litigation and conflict between the parents.
As more parents become attuned to the long-term impact of divorce on child development, new parenting time arrangements are becoming more popular.
Co-parenting is particularly hot right now, and entails prioritizing a child's need to maintain a stable relationship with both parents. To make this happen, parents must work together and sustain regular communication with one another so they continue to parent as a team.
Another related post-divorce parenting technique that has gained traction over the past few years is bird's nest co-parenting. This co-parenting method is even more child-focused. However, a parent's ability to engage in these practices is greatly influenced by the allocation of parenting time granted by Courts in divorce cases.
Bird's Nest Co-Parenting
When parents divorce, the child typically splits his or her time between the parents' households, which is often disruptive and unsettling to the child. To remedy this situation, the bird's nest co-parenting system has the child remain in the family home, and the parents rotate in and out. When not living with the child, the parents maintain separate residences or rotate in and out of shared housing.
This arrangement may be temporary to allow a smoother transition for the child, or permanent if the arrangement is better for the family. From a practical standpoint, bird's nest co-parenting will only work if the parents live relatively close to the family home and are available to rotate in upon one's time to take over parenting. Further, bird's nest co-parenting must be a shared parenting arrangement, and not one in which a single parent is the primary caregiver.
Illinois Parenting Time Allocation
Court decisions about parental responsibilities and visitation are always driven by the best interests of the child, and parenting time allocation is no different. Parenting time consists of the time during which a parent is responsible for all childcare duties and makes routine decisions for the child's benefit. Courts start from the premise that both parents are fit, and restrictions will not be placed on a parent's parenting time unless there is evidence that a parent poses a risk to the child's physical, mental or emotional health.
Determining a child's best interest is a case-by-case analysis that is heavily influenced by the circumstances of each family. However, Illinois law does provide Judges with a number factors to assess when making this evaluation.
Contact an Illinois Family Law Attorney
If you are going through a divorce and have young children, figuring out parenting time and parenting responsibilities is a big concern. While a Court can make this decision for you, negotiating an arrangement with your spouse is best. The services of an experienced Palatine divorce attorney can help. The Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C. serves clients throughout northwestern Chicagoland, and will develop a strategy that meets your goals and the needs of your family. Contact the office today for a free consultation. Call 847.873.6741.