How is Parenting Time Determined in Illinois?

In 2016, Illinois officially removed the terms “custody” and “visitation” from its legal code. Under state law, the concepts are now known respectively as “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time.” In allocating parenting time, the specific circumstances of the case will always be considered-equal parenting time and is by no means guaranteed. While state courts presume a child should spend time with both parents, any parenting time split is possible. Here, our Naperville and Bolingbrook family law attorneys provide an overview of how parenting time is determined in Illinois.

Six of the Most Important Factors Courts Consider When Allocating Parenting Time

Under Illinois law (750 ILCS 5/602.7), parenting time and parental responsibilities are allocated in a manner deemed to be in the best interests of the child. While the child’s needs always come first, the parents’ desires matter. Illinois courts will give parents considerable discretion to create their own parenting time agreement. If a shared parenting agreement cannot be reached, the court will allocate parenting time. Here are six of the most important factors Illinois courts consider in parenting time cases.

  1. Parental Wishes: Parental wishes matter. If the parents desire uneven parenting time, the courts will lean in the direction. Likewise, if each parent wants to maximize their own parenting time, courts will consider that as well.
  2. Child Preference: Assuming the child is old enough and mature enough, their personal preference will be taken into consideration. A teenager does not get to make a final decision, but they will typically be permitted to give input.
  3. Parental History: Courts will carefully consider each parent’s history of involvement with raising the child, or lack thereof. The more involved the parent has been, the more likely they will be awarded greater parenting time.
  4. Transportation and Other Logistics: Logistics matter. Illinois courts will always look to create a parenting time arrangement that can work in the real world.
  5. Willingness of Parents to Cooperate: Children do best when their parents are willing to cooperate. A parent’s commitment to making things work is a major point in their favor.
  6. History of Neglect, Abuse, or Misconduct: Any history of child abuse or child neglect will be taken very seriously. When warranted, a parent can be denied parenting time.

To be clear, there are also other factors which will be considered. The Illinois parenting time statute explicitly allows state courts to consider any issue the court deems relevant to protecting the best interests of the child. Parenting time is always determined on a case-by-case basis.

Contact Our Illinois Parenting Time Lawyers for Immediate Assistance

At Keller Legal Services, our Illinois family law attorneys have extensive experience handling complex parenting time cases. To set up a free, confidential review of your case, please do not hesitate to contact our firm today. From our offices in Naperville, Wheaton and Aurora, we represent parents throughout the region, including in DuPage County, Kane County, Will County and Cook County.