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The Basics of Illinois Parenting Time

 Posted on December 07, 2023 in Child Custody

DuPage County, IL visitatin lawyerEvery parent’s situation is different and as such it can be difficult to create a perfect parenting time schedule. Oftentimes a 50/50 split is not the best solution and, in cases where parents cannot agree or there are questions of parental fitness, it may be up to the court to determine the best interest of the children and the appropriate parenting time schedule. Illinois prefers that each child has two involved parents in their life so long as it does not affect the mental, physical, emotional, or moral well-being of the child. For a deeper understanding of how parenting time is allocated, speak with an experienced attorney.

Parenting Time As Defined By Illinois Law

Formerly known as visitation or physical custody, parenting time involves how much time a parent can spend with their child. It covers the rights and responsibilities each parent has to their children after a divorce. Parenting time will determine where a child’s permanent residence is located, how often that child will spend with each parent, the responsibilities of each parent when the child is with them, and the means of transportation between visits.

Determining Parenting Time

Cooperative parents can come together during the divorce process and draft an agreeable parenting plan that will be submitted to the court. A judge will look over the parenting plan, determine if it is in a child’s best interest, and either approve or deny it. When parents cannot agree or a parenting plan is not approved, the court must allocate parenting time. A mutually agreed upon parenting plan is always preferable in determining the parenting time allocation. However, when it cannot occur, a court will consider several factors before coming to a decision.

Creating a Parenting Schedule

A parenting schedule must address the following:

  • Weekly time and visits to be allotted to both parents (including weekends)

  • Holidays and vacations

  • Which parent will pick up or drop off the kids 

  • What parents will do if there is a scheduling conflict

Holidays and school breaks can be determined on an alternating basis. One parent typically gets certain holidays throughout the year and then alternates to other holidays the following year. The same can be said for school breaks like spring and summer. Parents can also adjust ad hoc with whatever arrangement works best for the parent’s and child’s schedules, as long as everyone agrees and it does not cause conflict.

Vacations are best left to the times when a parent already has parenting time scheduled. Be sure to consider all factors and limitations of your parenting plan, such as:

  • When you can leave

  • Where you can go

  • How long can you be away

Effective communication is the key to co-parenting and each parent should communicate their plans ahead of time so that all necessary arrangements can be made. Want to take your child on a vacation outside of your scheduled parenting time? You had better get permission from the other parent first. This is the only way a cooperative parenting plan can work.

Contact a DuPage County, IL Child Visitation Lawyer

Creating a solid parenting plan can be difficult when parents are unwilling to cooperate for the sake of their children. Even when parents agree on an arrangement, the judge’s approval of any arrangement rests entirely on what is perceived to be the best interest of the child. To ensure you have everything you need in your parenting plan concerning parenting time, contact a Wheaton, IL parenting time attorney. An experienced lawyer, like those at Fawell & Fawell, can guide you through the entire process. Call our firm at 630-871-2400 for a free consultation.

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