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Kane County family law attorneyA divorce can be difficult for a child to process. His or her world changes dramatically when the family unit as he or she knew it is no longer intact. Moving out of the marital home and into a new residence may be a challenging adjustment for any child, especially if he or she is living part time with both parents. 

According to Illinois law, parenting time (visitation) is determined based on several factors if the parents cannot come to their own arrangement. Depending on the allocation of parental responsibilities, one parent may have the majority of the time with the child once the divorce is final. However, there may be other family members who wish to see the child on a regular basis. In certain situations, other relatives such as grandparents or aunts and uncles may be awarded visitation rights. There are specific conditions that may warrant this scenario.      

Best Interest Considerations

Unlike parents, other immediate or extended family members typically do not have the presumed legal right to visitation, even if the child lived with them for a period of time or has a close personal relationship with them. However, depending on the circumstances, a grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or sibling may have been denied visitation. This is common in contentious divorces, where a bitter spouse does not want the child to spend time with the other parent’s family. In these cases, those family members may file a request with the court asking to modify an existing visitation order. 

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Kane County divorce attorneysToo often, children believe that a divorce is their fault and that if they had behaved better, maybe mom and dad would not be splitting up. Parents know that this is not true, but these thoughts can lead youngsters down a path of mental disturbance.

This is why having a proper parenting plan put in place is important for children whose parents are  involved in a divorce. As part of a parenting plan, both parents can decide on a schedule for visitation—now called parenting time in Illinois—after the physical separation of the family.

Keeping Parents Involved

Child development experts and mental health professionals tend to agree that is usually best for children of divorce to have both parents continue to play an active role in the children’s lives. There are exceptions, but children who grow up with only one active parent seem to be at a higher risk for:

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