Reeder & Brown, P.C.


Understanding “Parenting Time” in an Illinois Divorce

 Posted on July 30,2021 in Divorce

Joliet Family Law AttorneyIf you are a parent getting divorced in Illinois, you likely have questions about child custody. Many parents understandably worry about how a divorce will impact the amount of time they spend with their children. Some parents have additional concerns about how the other parent’s ability to care for the child appropriately. Regardless of your particular situation, if you are getting divorced in Illinois, it is important to understand Illinois laws regarding child custody and parenting time.

How is Parenting Time Decided in an Illinois Divorce?

Although we still use the term “child custody” to refer to general parenting duties after a divorce, this term is technically outdated. Illinois law now uses the term “allocation of parental responsibilities” to refer to parents’ decision-making authority and “parenting time” to refer to the time parents spend caring for their children.

Parents may design whatever parenting time schedule works best for their particular situation. If the parents can agree on a parenting time arrangement, they can submit the agreement to the court for approval as part of their parenting plan. Unless there is a reason that the parenting time agreement would not be in the child’s best interests, the court will approve the agreement and formalize it into a legally binding court order.

If parents cannot agree on parenting time, they may be required to attend mediation. If mediation, lawyer-led negotiations, and other attempts at reaching an agreement fail, the court may step in. When Illinois courts make decisions about parental responsibilities and parenting time, the child’s wellbeing and safety are the primary concerns.

Can a Parent Be Denied Parenting Time?

There is a rebuttable presumption that both parents can care for their children and keep them safe. A parent may only be denied access to his or her child if there is a reason that spending time with the parent may harm or endanger the child in some way. The court may restrict parenting time in many different ways, including:

  • Requiring the parent to be supervised during the parenting time (sometimes called supervised visitation)

  • Forbidding a parent from using drugs or alcohol during or before his or her parenting time

  • Prohibiting certain individuals from being present during the parenting time

  • Reducing the amount of parenting time a parent may have

  • Eliminating a parent’s right to parenting time entirely

This list is not exhaustive and there are many factors that play into whether a court restricts a parent’s access to his or her child. 

Contact a Joliet, Illinois Child Custody Lawyer for Help

If you are getting divorced or you have questions or concerns about parenting time, contact a Plainfield family law attorney for help. Call Reeder & Brown, P.C. at 815-885-5980 for a free, confidential consultation.



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