The holiday season is upon us, which means navigating the child visitation schedule for Illinois parents who live apart. Though Illinois law on allocation of parental responsibilities uses the term ‘parenting time,’ many of the traditional concepts of visitation apply, and many of the same challenges arise this time of year. Your situation will bring about many questions, and only a knowledgeable child custody and visitation attorney can provide the answers customized for your particular circumstances. However, some answers to frequently asked questions may help.
What if the holiday schedule conflicts with regular parenting time? Unless the court’s order regarding visitation states otherwise, the provisions regarding holiday visitation trump the routine parenting time. For instance, if you would normally have parenting time on a weekend, your child’s other parent may have visitation rights if a holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday.
How does the visitation schedule work for the school holiday break? Most kids in Illinois get two or more weeks off school, so you may have to make adjustments regarding child care. If the court order does not provide specifics, you may be able to work out an agreement to split the time and spread it over the school break.
Can we modify the court’s visitation order for the holiday season? The answer to this question depends upon the language in the order itself. In the original arrangement, the court order may leave open the holiday schedule or refer to it in general terms. If your arrangement does not contradict the conditions of the order, you are not really modifying it, anyway. A true modification must be approved by the court, but the process is not difficult if you can agree with your child’s other parent.
What if the court order does not specify visitation over the holidays? If the order on parenting time does not include provisions regarding holidays throughout the year, it may be worthwhile to go to court. You can work with an attorney to draft more detailed provisions and, ideally, you can enter an order by agreement. Even if problems do not come up during this holiday season, they may in the future. Going to court now, while you can agree, may prevent future disputes.
Do I have to go to court if we disagree on the parenting schedule? Any disputes regarding visitation should be resolved in court, whether you are seeking a change or want to maintain the status quo. A judge’s order is the equivalent of a law, so you face serious consequences if you do not comply.
Call an Illinois Child Custody Lawyer for More Answers to Your Questions
Though this general information may be useful, it is important to act based upon solid advice from an experienced child custody and visitation attorney. Our team at Glasgow & Olsson can explain the laws and help you come to smart decisions regarding holiday visitation issues. Please contact our office to schedule consultation regarding your situation. You can call 847-577-8700 or go online to learn more about how we help clients in Cook, DuPage, McHenry, and Lake Counties.
(image courtesy of Sandy Millar)