• Locations
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How Courts Decide Parenting Time

Mother with daughter and puppy sitting on outside bench, when looking for Chicago Child Custody Lawyer.

Determining rights to custody of children is one of the most sensitive and highly contested issues in Illinois family court. To protect your rights and your child’s best interests, it is important to consult with someone experienced in these matters. Our Illinois child custody attorney explains some of the factors that influence how courts decide parenting time. 

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities in Illinois

Previously in cases involving divorced or unmarried parents, family courts generally awarded one person custody and the other visitation. In 2016, changes in the Illinois Statutes did away with these terms. Today, rather than determining custody, the court allocates parental responsibilities. This refers to the following: 

  • Co-parenting plans that divide the child’s time between each parent’s home;
  • Provisions for extended stays during school breaks, holidays, or other special occasions;
  • The right to be involved in the child’s academic, extra-curricular, and recreational activities;
  • The right to make decisions impacting the child, such as concerning their medical care, religious upbringing, and education. 

In addition to allocating these rights between parents, arrangements made and each party’s income and assets will determine the amount of child support that must be paid. Other issues,  such as including children on health insurance policies and providing for special needs, will be addressed as well. 

Factors That Influence Parenting Plan

In child custody cases dealt with through the Illinois Courts, parents have the opportunity to negotiate a customized parenting plan, based on their specific situation. However, a judge will still need to approve the plan before a final order is issued. Factors that influence parenting plans and your rights in these arrangements include: 

  • Each parent’s relationship with the child and the role they have played in their life up to this point;
  • Each parent’s proven ability to provide for the child and meet their various needs;
  • Each parent’s willingness to cooperate with the other in creating and implementing a parenting plan;
  • Any special needs the child has;
  • Any behavior on the part of either parent that could put the child at risk, such as allegations of domestic violence, child abuse, or drug and alcohol addiction. 

Once a parenting plan is put in place, both parties are required to comply with the terms. Repeatedly being late, canceling visits, undermining the other parent’s authority, or jeopardizing the child in any way could prompt modification and may impact parental rights. 

Reach Out to Our Illinois Child Custody Attorneys

Decisions made in regards to parenting time could impact your rights, the safety of your child, and your relationship with them for years to come. To find out more about how the court makes these determinations and factors likely to influence your case, reach out to The Women’s Divorce & Family Law Group. Call or contact our Illinois child custody attorneys online and request a consultation today. 

There are many factors to consider when contemplating divorce, and a pre-divorce planning session can help you begin to plan for a divorce. Please contact the professionals at the Women’s Divorce & Family Law Group by calling (312) 585-6604 or clicking here to schedule a consultation.


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Downtown Chicago/Loop Office
Lake Forest Office
Lisle Office
Lake Forest Office

100 Saunders Rd.
Suite 150

Lake Forest, IL 60045

Lisle Office

3333 Warrenville Rd.
Suite 200

Lisle, IL 60532

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77 W. Wacker Drive
45th Floor

Chicago, IL 60601

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