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"What visitation should I ask for if my child and the custody mother now live outside of Illinois?"
With infants and young children you will probably have to come to the home state of your child and have visitation there. Infants and young children under the age of 24 months can have problems known as “separation anxiety” if separated from the Mother for more than a day or two. See my blog: Court Orders for out of State Visitation or Do it Now Before the Child Leaves Illinois!
Visitation with Infants and Young Children Who Live Out of State
It is especially important for you as the Father (or Non-Custody parent) to visit your child as frequently as you can so that your child gets to knows you as the Father.
It is difficult to speak to a very young child over the telephone but internet options are becoming ever more popular. Skype, Facetime and a variety of programs now allow you to see as well as hear your child even though you are not in the same state.
Illinois Courts recognize this technology and are more than willing to Order face to face internet time as visitation. So take advantage of the new technology to spend frequent time with your child. On the other hand, this is not a substitute for real in person face time with your child so try to visit with your child as much as you can.
Visitation with Children Ages 2-5 Who Live Out of State
If you live in the same state as your child who is age 2-5, you would probably have at least one full day each weekend with your child up even up to overnights on alternate weekends. In addition, you would likely have at least 1 weekday visit of 2 to 3 hours, usually for dinner.
If your child is out of state, the Court will usually try to give you more time with your child but less frequently. By the way there are no guidelines or specific rules for how long or how many times you see your child who is out of state. But most Courts want you to have visitation if you are willing to see your child in the child's home state and even allow you to bring your child back to Illinois or your home state for visitation.
Visitation with Grade School Children 6-12 Years Who Live Out of State
If you live in the same state as your child who is age 6-12 you would typically have visitation. every other weekend, Friday to Sunday, and at least 1 weekday visit of 2 to 3 hours for dinner. In addition, you would have alternating major legal holidays and school breaks such as Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and others. See chart below. Likewise you would have time during the summer varying from 3-4 weeks to ½ the summer.
If you live outside of your child's home state then the issue becomes whether you want to bring the child back to your home state for visitation and for how long. Visitations then tend to be for major blocks of time such as one half Christmas vacation, Spring break and a large amount of summer vacation sometimes from ½ to the whole summer.
Once your child can travel by airline without an adult going with then it becomes less costly to have these extended visitations in your home state.
Visitation Guidelines for Children Who are Teenagers Usually Ages 13-18 Years Who Live Out of State
If you and your child were living in the same state visitation by the very nature of raising a teenager would need to become much more flexible. Your teenage child now has a separate life and feels the need to be independent of you, even if you have been an active parent who has been there in the past for each visitation. You need not take this personally. Even for families who are not separated, teenagers seek independence. The key here however is to make the out of state visitations as pleasurable for your child as possible. Take time off from work to spent with your child.
Do things that they look forward. Camping, fishing, baseball or just spending time with you will work. Make the focus on the child. If you have been an active parent with your child and spent the time and energy to have visitation although out of state, your child will get over being a teenager soon enough and want to see you frequently. An investment of your patience and time now will pay off for you in having a close relationship with your child throughout life.
Some Additional Thoughts on Long Distance Visitation ? When Parents Live Far Apart
Have visitation every Spring Break or Easter Break, instead of every other one. Split the Christmas Break in half with each parent having one half. Split the summer in half or even ask for the whole summer. Depending on the distance you are apart from your child, have visitation on all three?day school holiday weekends in addition to major legal holidays. See the example below for more information of a child custody agreement:
For more information on child custody and visitation, contact the Illinois family law attorneys of Martoccio & Martoccio. We offer a free initial consultation of your case. Call 630-920-8855 today.