Every state has different child custody laws that they use to assign parental responsibilities and rights, such as legal decision-making, financial support and visitation.
In Illinois, visitation and custody are parental time. A parenting plan or a judge’s order outlines your time. This is what you should know about parental time.
In Illinois, the courts recognize two types of custody: legal and physical. Legal custody gives you the right to make religious, educational, medical and other important decisions for your children, while physical custody determines who they live with.
Physical custody is parenting time. Therefore, parental time is any time you legally have physical custody of your child. If you have joint physical custody, your former spouse also has assigned parental time.
Parental time determinations
As with most custody decisions, family court judges base parental time on the best interests of the child. You may negotiate a parenting plan, but the judge has the final say. If you cannot agree on a plan, the judge will make the decisions for you, including developing a schedule for your parental time. Your children’s wishes are also a factor.
Illinois judges typically try to divide the children’s time equally among their parents. However, a judge may also assign one custodial parent so the children have some stability. Then, the non-custodial parent has a set schedule that includes parental time every other weekend, holiday and school break as well as one evening during the week.
In most cases, research shows that your children will benefit from time with both you and your spouse. Learning the parental time laws in Illinois and putting your children’s best interest first is the key to a positive outcome.