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How Allocation of Parental Responsibility (Custody) and Parenting Time (Visitation) are Determined in Illinois

When parents file for divorce, or for parental rights after the legal establishment of paternity, they must determine how they will split time with their child (parenting time) and decision-making power (allocation of parental responsibilities) in their child's life. How do parents make such a determination? They follow a legal process that is outlined by the courts. Understand how this process works and how you can effectively develop a plan that works for your family. 

Parenting Plans - What They Are and Why You Need One

A parenting plan is a legal arrangement that outlines the details of a family's allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. Unless an extension is requested, a proposed parenting plan must be filed within 120 days from the date that the Respondent received their court papers. All parenting plans are valid until the child becomes an adult, or until a modification is requested or made with the courts (modifications are not generally permitted until two years after an order is put into effect).

How a Parenting Plan is Developed

Every family's plan is unique, and parents who can agree upon the details typically have more flexibility and control over how time with their child and decision-making responsibilities are split. Parents who cannot initially agree may file an extension and attempt to resolve their disputes in mediation. If the parents are unable to come to an agreement in mediation, the matter then goes to family court for a final determination.

When a Judge Must Determine the Parenting Plan

When a judge determines the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time order, certain factors are used to decide what is in the "best interest of the child." These considerations typically include:

  • Wishes and needs of the child;
  • Each parent's wishes;
  • Mental and physical health of all parties;
  • Distance between parents' residences;
  • Each parent's willingness to foster a healthy relationship with the other parent;
  • Child's adjustment to school, home, and/or community;
  • Safety of the child (i.e. a history of domestic violence or a sex offense within the family);
  • Prior agreements or arrangements between parents;
  • Previous involvement in daily care and decision-making activities of each parent;
  • Any other factors the court deems necessary.

Skilled Legal Assistance for Your Parenting Plan Needs

Whether you need assistance in ensuring that your agreed upon parenting plan meets all the criteria, are struggling to develop a plan that you and your spouse agree on, or need help protecting your legal rights as a parent, The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. can help. Our Wheaton, Illinois family law attorneys have more than 40 years of experience and a reputation that you can trust. Call us at 630-462-9500 to schedule your initial consultation today.


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The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.
1776 S. Naperville Road - Building B, Suite 202
Wheaton, IL 60189

Phone: 630-690-6077
Phone: 630-462-9500
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