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Illinois lawmakers debate over child custody time

There are key moments within the grueling divorce process that make a large impact on the future of both ex-spouses. For parents that decide to separate, few would argue that determining child custody isn’t the most important part of the proceedings. The court has to make the difficult decision of which parent will ultimately spend more time with the kid and play an essential role for their future and which one only spends a couple days with them in a month, maybe a year.

Like other states, Illinois primarily determines custody based on the best interests of the children. However, not everyone in the state is happy with these regulations. Recently, a state representative offered a new solution on the matter by introducing a new bill. The bill is receiving mixed attention and serves as a reminder of how controversial child custody is both in and outside of the courtroom.

Equal parenting time

Recently, Democratic State Representative La Shawn Ford of Chicago proposed House Bill 185. If passed, courts would no longer assign child custody based on the child’s best interest. Instead, the judge would assign both parents 50 percent custody from the very beginning.

During the hearing, psychologists and representatives for groups advocating for father rights supported him. They believe that centering the decision on the child’s best interests is a flawed and outdated standard and that providing equal parenting time will benefit all parties. Neither parent would get too much or too little time with their kids, and the children wouldn’t suffer psychologically for no longer seeing one of their parents.

A divisive response

This isn’t the first time a bill like this was proposed within the last few years, so the response to the bill was heavily split. Opponents claim that doing this would expose the children to more conflict between their two parents and could be especially dangerous if one of their parents is abusive.

It’s unsurprising that fathers’ rights advocates would be supporting the bill. According to Custody X Change, Illinois fathers have an average of 23.1 percent of annual custody time, which is the fourth least amount in the nation. Even if the bill fails, they still aim to bring some change by having their voices heard on the issue.

Regardless of how this bill turns out, this demonstrates just how important determining child custody is within Illinois divorce proceedings. Whether you are a mother or father, it can be one of the most difficult moments of the process that requires experienced family law attorneys to help you get the outcome you desire.

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