Illinois Parenting Time Schedule Guidelines

Illinois prefers shared parenting time whenever it's in the child's best interests. In shared parenting time, the child spends periods with both parents.

However, parents don't necessarily get equal time. In fact, fathers in Illinois usually get about 23 percent of parenting time, the fourth-lowest figure in the U.S., according a 2018 study by Custody X Change.

A judge must approve all parenting time schedules, even when parents come to an agreement in a settlement. If parents can't agree, each submits a proposal, and the court decides.

Keep in mind that schedules should align with your child's needs and can affect your child support payments.

The schedule is a part of your parenting plan, meaning it becomes a legally-binding court order with a judge's approval. It is important to follow the schedule as written, though parents can agree on small tweaks or ask the court to modify the order.

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Common schedules

Parents can adjust popular parenting schedules, such as the ones below, to fit their needs or create a schedule from scratch.

3-4-4-3 schedule: This is an equal parenting time schedule. First, one parent gets three days, and the other parent gets four. Then the schedule flips.

Every extended weekend schedule: This schedule gives one parent 60 percent of the time with the child and the other parent 40 percent. It's useful for parents wanting weekday stability in one residence. The other parent gets every weekend.

Every 3rd week schedule: In this schedule, parents split time 70/30. One parent gets two weeks with the child, then the other parent gets one week.

What to address in your parenting time schedule

Parenting schedules should address:

Holiday schedules disrupt regular parenting time schedules. Some parents alternate holidays, while others celebrate the same holidays each year with their children.

Be aware that some holidays coincide with school breaks, which can have their own schedules.

Illinois recommends assigning first priority to holiday schedules, second priority to school breaks schedules and final priority to regular schedules.

Parents should also consider how vacation time will work. Can it overlap with the other parent's scheduled time? Can the child be removed from school for vacation? How long can a vacation last? Address these issues in your parenting plan.

Other parenting time arrangements

Supervised parenting time may be necessary when a child would be at risk if left alone with a parent. Some counties in Illinois have supervised visitation centers for families, providing a neutral and monitored site for a parent to interact with their child.

Courts may restrict interactions with a child when a parent has a history of abuse, especially if the child was the victim. Addiction issues can also severely limit the time a parent is allowed to spend with their child.

The easiest way to make a schedule

If you're like most parents, creating a parenting time schedule will feel daunting. How do you write something that meets legal requirements and doesn't leave any loose ends?

The Custody X Change app makes it easy. Either customize a schedule template, or click and drag in your custody calendar to make a schedule from scratch.

Then watch a full description appear in your parenting plan.

The combination of a visual and written schedule means your family will have no problem knowing who has the child when. Take advantage of Custody X Change to make your schedule as clear and thorough as can be.

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

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Explore examples of common schedules

Explore common schedules

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