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When parents of a child are separating or filing for a divorce, they must come to an agreement regarding how time with their child will be shared. Illinois courts refer to this as “parenting time,” with 750 ILCS 5/600 distinguishing parenting time from significant decision-making responsibilities, explaining that parenting time is the time during which a parent is responsible for exercising caretaking functions in regards to a child. Separating parents must create a parenting plan that addresses parenting time.

Of course, you may not agree with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse’s proposed parenting plan and time-sharing agreement and may want to contest the proposal. You may also want to contest a court’s decision to award parenting time in a manner that you find unfit or unfair. Here’s what you need to know–

Contesting Your Spouse’s Proposed Parenting Plan

If your (ex) spouse presents you with a parenting plan that you do not agree with, it is your right to contest it. Typically, this is done in out-of-court mediation with a neutral third party, where you and your child’s other parent will attempt to work together to create a parenting plan with a time-sharing arrangement that works for everyone.

In the event that the mediation attempts fail and an agreement regarding time-sharing cannot be reached, the issue may go to court, where it will be decided by a judge.

Contesting a Court’s Parenting Time Decision

You have the opportunity to present your case to the court and advocate aggressively for your side. If the court ultimately issues a parenting time decision that you do not agree with, however, there are still two avenues for contesting it: motion for reconsideration and appeal.

A motion for reconsideration is always the first thing you should do before filing an appeal. A motion for reconsideration simply asks the court to reconsider its ruling and allows you an opportunity to explain why you think the court was wrong.

In the event that a motion for reconsideration fails to yield the outcome you’re hoping for, you can file an appeal.

Both options above–filing a request for reconsideration and filing an appeal–are legally-intensive processes that should not be pursued without legal counsel. It should also be noted that extending a child custody case can be expensive, costing thousands of dollars in court and legal fees.

Our Naperville Attorneys Are Here for You

Ideally, you will not have to contest a parenting time arrangement because your original case will be settled in a manner that is agreeable to you. To improve your chances of this, working with an experienced Illinois child custody attorney is strongly recommended. At the offices of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C., we have years of experience representing clients in Naperville, Downers Grove, Lombard, Lisle, Aurora, and Wheaton, and are prepared to review your case today. Contact us now to learn more.