In February a bill that has been widely opposed by many family law organizations including the Illinois State Bar Association has been reintroduced in the state legislature. HB 185 would amend the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act to mandate a rebuttable presumption in favor of equal parenting time in every family law case.
Parents could by agreement present a written parenting plan that would allow a deviation from this presumption if this were approved by the court. The court would be required to issue a written decision stating its specific findings of facts and conclusions of law in support of its ruling.
HB 185 ignores the best interest of the children standard in favor of a rigid formula regardless of the needs of the children or the family.
While both parents' involvement in a child's life is very important, many of the children and families I represent are those where the child has a disability. Often although not always, these kids struggle with transitions. They can't manage a 50/50 split of parenting time. These issues cannot be ignored in a consideration of a parenting plan. Every family is unique .While a formulaic response may provide what appears to be a straightforward solution, any parenting plan must be based upon the best interests of the children.
The bill fails to consider the many complexities involved when children have a disability, particularly educational concerns regarding the residence, transportation, decision making.