Special Situations in IL Parental Responsibilities Cases

No two parental responsibilities and parenting time cases are the same. Find information below on circumstances that may arise during your case.

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Supervised parenting time

A judge often orders supervised parenting time for parents who pose a risk to their child's health or safety. This means a neutral third party has to observe the parent's visits with the child. The supervisor may be a trained professional or an approved friend or family member.

Supervised parenting time is ordered for numerous reasons, including:

Parents generally select the supervisor together, and the one requiring supervision pays. Though friends and family rarely charge, hiring a professional is advised when there are concerns about domestic violence, child abuse, sexual abuse or neglect. Visitation centers ― neutral locations with professional supervisors available ― are another paid option.

The court has final say over the supervisor and the time and place of visits.

The supervisor must observe the entire visit and maintain a safe environment. They need to understand basic child care and speak the same language as the parent and child.

History of crime, violence or substance abuse

The court rarely grants parental responsibilities to a parent who has abused their child or the other parent. A history of substance abuse or crime may also impact a parent's chance of receiving parental responsibilities.

Parents facing these issues still receive some parenting time, except in extreme cases. Judges often restrict how these parents can spend time with their children, perhaps by prohibiting one or more of the following:

  • Overnight visits
  • Unsupervised parenting time
  • Visitation beyond public places
  • In-person communication (Virtual communication can count as parenting time.)

If abuse allegations prove false, the parent who made the claim may face fines, legal repercussions and restricted parenting time. They may also face accusations of parental alienation (details below).

If your actions have been called into question, experts advise hiring a lawyer to help you prove your parental fitness. The complexities of these cases are much greater than in a traditional custody case.

Parental alienation

Parental alienation occurs when one parent attempts to distort their child's relationship with the other parent through false claims and manipulation.

Your judge will likely order a custody evaluation if parental alienation is suspected or alleged. The evaluation will include interviews and psychological testing. The court may also appoint a guardian ad litem or child's representative.

Parents who alienate can lose some or all of their parenting time. Family members affected may be ordered to attend counseling.

Consult with an attorney if you have been accused of parental alienation. It is a serious and complex matter.


Parents need a court to modify their parenting plan before they can move the child the following distances:

  • 25 or more miles from the current residence in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry or Will counties
  • 50 or more miles from the current residence in any other Illinois county
  • 25 or more miles from the current residence to somewhere outside Illinois

Parents in these cases don't have to wait to modify the plan until it's been in place for two years, as is usual.

The relocating parent must notify the court and the other parent at least 60 days before the move. They must include the move date, the new address and whether the move is temporary.

If the other parent agrees to the relocation, a judge will most likely approve it. If their parenting time schedule won't change, parents can file the plan modification without formally appearing in court.

If the other parent objects, a judge will listen to both parties in a hearing and consider the child's best interests before ruling.

Military duty

Courts will not sign final orders for parental responsibilities and parenting time while one party is deployed on military duty. The judge will delay the custody process until the parent has returned.

Temporary custody often goes to the nondeployed parent. Deployed parents can communicate electronically with their children during their time away.

Hiring an attorney to help you seek parenting responsibilities while deployed makes the process much easier.

Foreign languages

Court business must be conducted in English.

The court's Language Access Program provides interpreters for free. Note that some are available on court premises during business hours, while others you must request ahead of time.

Your judge may allow friends or family to interpret, but mistakes could result in their expulsion from court.

Addressing special situations in your parenting plan

Your parenting plan should be unique to your family and reflect your specific needs.

If a lawyer or mediator is writing your plan, it's important you share with them any circumstances the plan should address.

If you're writing your own plan, you have the flexibility to include what you want. But — the plan needs to follow a format the judge will understand and use airtight language that leaves no room for interpretation.

The Custody X Change parenting plan template walks you through common provisions, while letting you enter as many custom provisions as you want. It's a sure way to get a plan that's tailored to your family and meets court standards for formatting and language.

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