Jenette M. Schwemler, PC

Navigating Parenting Time in Illinois: A Comprehensive Guide

Filed in Child Custody, on April 11, 2024

Parenting time, often referred to as visitation or custody, is a critical aspect of family law that determines how parents share responsibilities and time with their children after a divorce or separation. In Illinois, like many other states, the courts prioritize the best interests of the child when establishing parenting time arrangements. Understanding the laws and guidelines surrounding parenting time can help parents navigate this process smoothly and ensure the well-being of their children.

Understanding Parenting Time in Illinois

In Illinois, parenting time refers to the allocation of time that each parent spends with their child. It encompasses both regular schedules and holiday or vacation periods. The state follows guidelines outlined in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) to determine parenting time arrangements.

Factors Considered by the Court

When establishing parenting time arrangements, Illinois courts consider various factors to determine what is in the best interests of the child. These factors may include, but are not limited to:

      • The child’s wishes, taking into account their age and maturity.
      • The child’s relationship with each parent and any siblings.
      • Each parent’s ability to facilitate a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent.
      • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
      • The child’s adjustment to their home, school, and community.
      • Any history of domestic violence or abuse.
      • Types of Parenting Time Schedules

Creating a Plan for Parenting Time

Parents are encouraged to develop a parenting plan that outlines the specifics of their parenting time arrangement. This plan should address details such as:

      • A regular schedule for parenting time, including weekdays, weekends, and holidays.
      • Transportation arrangements for exchanging the child between parents.
      • Communication methods between parents regarding the child’s well-being.
      • The right of first refusal (a parent’s right to provide care for a child before getting a sitter or family member to provide care).
      • Procedures for resolving disputes or modifying the parenting plan in the future.

Mediation and Court Intervention

In cases where parents are unable to reach a mutually agreeable parenting plan, mediation may be required. Mediation allows parents to work with a neutral third party to negotiate a plan that meets the child’s needs.

If mediation fails or if there are significant disagreements between parents, the court may intervene to establish a parenting time arrangement. It’s essential for parents to approach court proceedings with a focus on the child’s best interests and be prepared to present evidence supporting their case.

Modification of Parenting Time Orders

Parenting time arrangements may need to be modified as circumstances change. If one parent relocates, experiences a change in work schedule, or if the child’s needs evolve, either parent can petition the court for a modification of the parenting

Navigating parenting time in Illinois requires careful consideration of the child’s best interests and cooperation between parents. By understanding the factors considered by the court, exploring different parenting time schedules, and creating a comprehensive parenting plan, parents can establish arrangements that promote the well-being and happiness of their children. When disputes arise, mediation and court intervention offer paths toward resolution, ensuring that parenting time arrangements remain in the child’s best interests as they grow and change.


Law Office of Jenette M. Schwemler, PC
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