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How are Parenting Time and Parental Responsibilities Allocated in Illinois? 

Posted on in Divorce

oak brook child custody lawyerThe “best interests” of a child are the primary concern of Illinois courts and judges when making decisions about a parent’s ability to spend time with and make decisions for their child. But reasonable people can and often do disagree about what is best for a child - parents getting divorced being a prime example - so how does anyone make decisions about what is truly best for a child? 

How Are a Child’s “Best Interests” Determined? 

In a divorce or parenting time modification, Illinois judges encourage parents to work together closely to try to create an arrangement for the children outside of court. When parents are able to cooperate, both parents generally find that, while the parenting plan may not be exactly what they hoped for, they are more satisfied than if a judge made all the decisions on their behalf. 

Unfortunately, it is not always possible for parents to agree on some or all of the parenting arrangements. Irreconcilable disputes about who gets to make important decisions for the children (parental responsibilities) and who gets to have the children in their physical custody (parenting time) can force courts to take action. In cases like this, the court considers many factors when determining the best interests of the child. 

Allocating Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time

Courts trying to determine the best interests of the child when allocating parental responsibilities and parenting time will consider factors that include, but are not limited to: 

  • The physical and mental health of the parents

  • The preferences of each parent

  • The preferences of the child

  • The needs of the child

  • The child’s history with the parent and other members of that parent’s household, including siblings or stepparents 

  • How far apart the parents live and how difficult or costly it is to transport the child between parents

  • Each parent’s ability to encourage and foster a positive relationship between the child and his or her other parent 

  • Whether spending time with the parent is good for the child’s safety and well-being, taking into account any past physical or sexual abuse

  • Whether each parent can put the needs of the child above their own

  • Whether one parent is a member of the American armed forces and is deployed or will be deployed

  • Any other factor the court finds relevant 

Whenever a judge orders a change in a child’s circumstances, he or she must consider whether the benefits of changing the status quo would outweigh the benefits of stability and predictability to the child. 

Speak with a Burr Ridge Parenting Time Attorney

If you are getting divorced or hoping to modify your existing parenting plan, speaking with an experienced Cook County divorce attorney can help. At Botti Marinaccio, LTD., we have many years of experience working with individuals in situations like yours and will advocate passionately for your rights. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation at 630-575-8585




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2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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