How Parenting Time in Illinois is Decided

How Parenting Time in Illinois is Decided

By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC

Going through a divorce that involves minor children from your marriage, or going through a breakup with a partner with whom you share minor children, will mean that you need to learn more about how parenting time will be decided. In any child custody case, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) oversees parental responsibilities, which include both significant decision-making responsibilities and parenting time.

You might already know that parenting time is the new way in which Illinois courts discuss what used to be known as physical custody and visitation or the time that a parent spends with the child and exercises day-to-day duties and caretaking functions.

When you are anticipating a child custody case in Illinois, you may be wondering how parenting time will be decided. There are two general ways that parenting time can be decided, and a Chicago child custody lawyer at our firm can assist you under any and all circumstances.

Develop a Parenting Plan

The first way that parenting time can be decided is through a court-approved parenting plan. A parenting plan, according to the IMDMA, is “a written agreement that allocates significant decision-making responsibilities, parenting time, or both.” When it comes to allocating parenting time, a parenting plan is ultimately a written agreement between the parents about how they will share parenting time.

The development of a parenting plan will only work if the parties are able to reach an agreement with one another about how they will both play a role in the day-to-day caretaking functions necessary to raise their children.

A parenting plan will only become effective if the court approves the agreement, and the court will only approve the agreement if the terms are in the best interests of the child. To be clear, in allocating parenting time through a parenting plan, the parties must use the “best interests of the child” standard. The court can ask the parents to make changes to the parenting plan before it approves if the terms do not appear to be in the best interests of the child.

Once the court approves a parenting plan, it has the effect of a court order and incorporated into an Allocation Judgment. In circumstances where the parents cannot reach an agreement through a parenting plan, or when any kind of communication between the parties is not appropriate, the court will allocate parenting time through an allocation judgment after a Hearing or Trial.

Court Allocates Parenting Time Through an Allocation Judgment

The allocation judgment is a court order that outlines how the parents will provide caretaking functions for their children and will share in these parental responsibilities. The court uses the “best interests of the child” standard in issuing an allocation judgment and considers a wide variety of factors, including but certainly not limited to:

  • Wishes of the parents
  • Wishes of the child if the child is mature enough to make a reasoned and independent preference
  • Previous amount of parenting time in the last 24 months for each parent
  • Prior agreement between the parents
  • Child’s adjustment to home and community
  • Mental and physical health of the parents and the child

Learn More from a Child Custody Lawyer in Chicago

If you have questions about the allocation of parental responsibilities, our Chicago area child custody lawyers are here to assist you. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC today.