Illinois Parenting Time Schedule Guidelines

Illinois prefers shared parenting time whenever it's in the child's best interests. (Some states call this joint physical custody.) In shared parenting time, the child spends time with each parent.

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

A judge must approve your parenting time schedule, even if you have a settlement agreement. If you can't agree, each parent will submit a proposal, and the court will decide.

Keep in mind that schedules can affect your child support payments and need to account for factors that make your child unique.

The schedule is a part of your parenting plan, meaning it becomes a 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 day schedule: In this schedule, parents split time 70/30. One parent gets two days with the child, then the other parent gets one day. This can be good for young children who need to see each parent often but may start off more comfortable with the primary parent.

What to address in your parenting time schedule

Parenting schedules should address:

Holiday schedules override regular parenting time schedules for a day or a few days at a time. Parents usually alternate who gets a particular holiday each year, but you may give some holidays to one parent every year.

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 break schedules and final priority to regular schedules. If you use a Custody X Change calendar to design your schedule, this happens automatically.

Parents should also consider how vacationing with the child will work. Can vacations 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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