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How is Parenting Time Allocated in Illinois?

Since 2016, Illinois law has used the term “parenting time” to define what was once called physical custody and visitation. In a divorce proceeding, a court will allocate parenting time between the former spouses, either by developing a parenting plan or by approving one agreed to by the parties. The overriding consideration guiding the family court is what is in the best interests of the children.

Allocating parenting time between the divorced couple can be difficult. It involves consideration of how close the former spouses live to each other, the work schedule of the spouses and the extracurricular activities of the children. It is preferable that the divorcing parents work together to develop a parenting plan acceptable to each other and the family court. If they make it a contested issue, they will incur additional legal fees, court appearances and a parenting plan imposed by the family court that neither spouse may like.

A parenting plan determines with whom the child will principally reside and how much time the child will spend with the other parent. It also addresses several other aspects of the child’s life. It details where the children will spend the major holidays, when and with whom they will go on vacation and how frequently they spend time with the non-custodial parent. Other details include where the children will spend their birthdays and their parents’ and siblings’ birthdays. Caring for the children during summer vacation and school holidays should be addressed.

The parents also will have to agree to a schedule for transporting the children to and from school, weekend events and extracurricular events.

Some divorce settlement agreements include a provision for mediation of disputes over the adopted parenting plan. A trained mediator can help the divorced spouses resolve conflicts or agree to changes in the plan as circumstances change in the future.

If a parenting plan cannot be agreed upon, a judge will allocate parenting time by considering such factors as the desires of the parents, the history of the family regarding childcare, the relationship between the parents and the benefits the children will derive from having continued close contact with both parents. Just as importantly, the judge will consider any factors that might call for limiting parenting time, such as evidence of past domestic abuse.

At the Law Offices of Paul Chatzky (routinely handling cases before the Court in Skokie and other suburban District Courts) with offices in Northfield, we are skilled at creating or negotiating workable parenting plans that preserve strong relationships between divorced parents and their children. Call us at 847-416-1646 or contact us online.

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Paul Chatzky
Founder

Born in Havana, Cuba, Paul Chatzky is fluent in Spanish and English, enabling him to effectively represent a wider range of individuals and businesses. He is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, and is listed among Illinois Super Lawyers, which is a reflection of his high ethical standards and exceptional legal knowledge. As a…

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Deborah E. Chatzky
Paralegal

About Prior to joining the firm as a paralegal, Debbie was employed by major banking institutions as a loan processor and as an executive secretary. Debbie was also employed as an administrative assistant for the Board of Jewish Education. Having majored in Sociology, Debbie graduated from the University of Florida in 1980. Debbie completed her…

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