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What options are there for child custody schedules in Illinois?

States across the country are following the Uniform Child Custody Act to minimize child custody conflicts between states and make enforcement of child custody laws easier. In addition to those provisions in the Act, most states have their own child custody laws. The state of Illinois, for example, allows joint custody of children after divorce. Child custody laws also provide visitation rights for grandparents and even recognize a child's preferences when considering a custody decision.

The primary child custody issue for most divorced couples is visitation rights. If the court says that both former spouses have reasonable visitation time, then the ex-couples can come up with their own visitation plan by communicating with each other.

If direct and effective communication between divorcing spouses is not possible, then they can request that the judge come up with a fixed visitation plan. Likewise, if a current visitation plan is not working out, then a parent can appeal to the court for a fixed visitation plan or a change in a current plan.

What is a fixed visitation plan? A fixed visitation plan is a preset, consistent child visitation schedule for non-custodial parent imposed by the family court judge. The judge can also order special circumstances for a visitation schedule. For example, if a non-custodial parent has been abusive, then the court can order chaperoned non-custodial parent visits until the court is provided evidence that any danger to the child has been removed.

Another interesting point to note is that except for residents of Washington, D.C., all state courts will consider the rights of grandparents in matters related to visitation or, if needed, child custody. However, the rules governing the extent of grandparental rights differ from state to state.

Source:, "Illinois Child Custody Laws," accessed on Aug.13, 2014

Source:, "Illinois Child Custody Laws," accessed on Aug.13, 2014

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