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Types of Child Custody in Illinois

If you are involved in a contentious divorce, don’t put your children in an uncertain situation. Determining what is best for them is difficult.

If you and your spouse cannot reach agreement about child custody—now called parental responsibility in Illinois law—then the court will decide.

Diamond Divorce lawyers have been helping Illinois families through divorce for years. To learn more from our team of dedicated divorce lawyers about custody designations and to determine how they relate to your case, read on.

Parental Responsibility in Illinois

Parental responsibilities under Illinois law are categorized as parenting time and decision-making.

Parenting time refers to scheduled time each child may spend with each parent.

Decision-making refers to the authority to make decisions about education, health, religion, and extracurricular activities affecting each child.

Determination of each parent’s role is made on a case-by-case basis (since each situation is unique) in the areas of parenting time and decision-making.

Joint Custody

The term joint custody is no longer used, but the concept is still very relevant. Instead of the word “custody”, Illinois uses the terminology of parenting time and decision-making.

How parties split the parenting time (previously known as visitation) and decision-making is dependent upon a number of factors, including:

  • The expressed preferences of the parents;
  • The expressed preferences of the child, contingent on the child’s age, maturity and education;
  • The child’s relationship with the parents;
  • The child’s comfort at home, in school and in the community;
  • The mental and physical health of each of the parties;
  • Any past and recent acts of violence by the parent;
  • The willingness of each parent to facilitate, engender, and encourage a close relationship between the other parent and the child; and
  • The best interests of the child.

Whether or not a court would award a 50/50 split of parenting time and decision-making is dependent upon both parents being able to set aside any differences and work together for the benefit of the child.

If the court decides that 50/50 is the optimal arrangement for the child, then either the parties would sign a Joint Parenting Agreement or the court may enter an order of the parenting terms.

Such agreement or order is not technically called a parenting agreement; rather, it is called an Allocation Agreement or Allocation Order. Allocation refers to how the parenting time and decision-making is allocated between the parents.

Sole Custody

Again, Illinois does not use the term custody. Sole Custody is now considered to be 100% of parenting time and 100% of decision-making authority. If one parent is unfit to care for a child, then the court may assign all the parental responsibilities to the other parent.

The Allocation Agreement or order will provide such visitation rights, if any, the other parent will have and  such involvement in decision-making, if any, the other parent will receive.

Child Support

Determining the amount each parent must contribute to the upbringing of the child is a complex process.

The Illinois guidelines for determining child support consider the parties’ income(s), the number of children involved, as well as a number of other factors.

There are online calculation programs you can use to estimate how much you could end up paying or receiving for child support.  However, to make certain that all factors are taken into consideration for your benefit we recommend working with a qualified family lawyer to determine applicable amounts.

In Illinois, if a parent has at least 146 overnight stays, that parent will receive child support for the nights they have the child.

Contact Diamond Divorce Law for Child Custody Disputes

If you have reached the point that you need legal representation in your divorce or child custody matters, please give Diamond Divorce Law a call. With Diamond Divorce Law, you will have access to decades of legal experience at the negotiating table and in the courtroom. Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced family lawyer.


DISCLAIMER: Any information contained herein is solely for informational purposes. While it is important that you educate yourself, nothing herein should be construed as legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. For specific questions, you are urge and encouraged to contact a local attorney for advice pertaining to your specific legal needs.

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