Settling Parental Responsibilities in Illinois: 5 Steps

Legal professionals call settling the best way to resolve parental responsibilities cases. Settling means parents reach an agreement and file it with the court to make it a final judgment.

Parents can agree to settle at any point during the court process.

It limits time spent in court, keeps costs down, gives parents control and often keeps tensions low.

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To encourage settling, Illinois makes parents attend parenting classes and mediation before resorting to trial. You can also reach a settlement agreement via other methods of alternative dispute resolution, such as early neutral evaluation or conciliation conference.

After opening a case and negotiating an agreement with the other parent, follow the steps below to settle your case. If you hire an attorney, he or she will guide you through the steps and file paperwork on your behalf.

Step 1: Draft your parenting plan

Illinois courts require a parenting plan to settle your case. You may use the circuit court's parenting plan template or the Custody X Change template.

Your parenting plan must explain the division of parental responsibilities, plus give provisions for relocation and mediation.

It should also include a parenting time schedule, which you can make in the Custody X Change app or on your own.

Step 2: Complete other paperwork

Next, complete the following forms:

Have a legal professional review your documents.

Step 3: Schedule a court date

Before you can ask the judge to settle your case, you need to schedule a hearing. The circuit clerk can help you arrange a court date.

Be sure to ask the clerk if they will notify the other parent of the court date. If not, you may need to notify the other parent yourself using the Notice of Court Date form, as all parties must be present during the hearing.

Step 4: Get approval from a judge

Bring three copies of all your documents to the hearing.

The judge will sign off, unless your agreement jeopardizes the child's best interests. Domestic abuse or drug use are often to blame when a judge doesn't sign a parental responsibilities settlement.

Step 5: File with the court clerk

Take the signed documents to the court clerk to officially file as your final judgment. You will receive a copy, and the court will retain the originals. Be sure to keep all documents safe, as you may need them in the future.

After you've settled

The custody journey continues after you receive a final judgment. Now your responsibilities include:

To do all of this and more, use Custody X Change.

The online app's customizable calendars, parent-to-parent messaging, expense tracker and parenting plan template will make life after settlement as straightforward as they made settlement itself.

Visualize your schedule. Get a written parenting plan. Calculate your parenting time.

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Explore examples of common schedules


Bring calm to co‑parenting. Agree on a schedule and plan. Be prepared with everything documented.

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