303 W. Main Street, West Dundee, IL 60118
 | 847-428-7725
Call for an Initial Consultation
Evening and Weekend Hours by Appointment
100 Illinois Street, Suite 200, St. Charles, IL 60174
 | 630-200-4882
By Appointment Only
Evening and Weekend Hours by Appointment
West Dundee, IL847-428-7725
St. Charles, IL630-200-4882
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
Serving Kane, McHenry, DuPage and Cook Counties

Are Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time the Same in Illinois? 

Posted on in Child Custody

st. charles child custody lawyerParents getting divorced in Illinois face a wide range of complex and emotional challenges. Arranging for the shared care of a child in two separate households is often one of the most contested divorce issues couples confront. 

In an attempt to better serve the child’s interests, Illinois stopped using the terms “custody” and “visitation” and instead has two distinct categories to address matters regarding the parent-child relationship: Parenting time and parental responsibilities.

Parenting Time 

Parenting time, formerly known as “visitation,” is exercised by one or both parents and involves spending time with and caring for a child. Among other things, a parent with parenting time will need to:

  • Ensure the child attends school and completes their homework

  • Supervise the child’s hygiene

  • Provide for the child’s health and wellness by attending doctor’s visits, providing proper nutrition, and ensuring adequate exercise 

  • Teach the child to be a responsible and functioning member of society

When it is safe and appropriate to do so, spending time with each parent is a crucial part of a child’s development. Illinois recognizes the large body of research that shows children do best throughout their lives when they have a relationship with both parents. Courts will do their best to allocate parenting time according to each parent’s ability and willingness to provide a safe environment for the child. 

Parental Responsibilities

Formerly called “custody,” parental responsibilities include both parenting time and significant decision-making authority. The process of deciding which parent will receive authority to make certain decisions is the “allocation of parental responsibilities.” These decisions include, but are not limited to:

  • Which religion, if any, the child will be raised under

  • Where the child will attend school and which classes they will take

  • Where the child will receive healthcare

  • Which extracurricular activities the child be will involved in

Although parents may feel dissatisfied or angered by the allocation of parental responsibilities, it is important to remember that the court is seeking to address the child’s needs and that the parenting arrangement is not always indicative of a parent’s capabilities. Judges may distribute parenting time in a way that lessens a child’s potential exposure to conflict or which provides the most stability to a child, and this does not necessarily mean one parent is “better” than the other. 

Consult with a Barrington, IL Family Law Attorney

Even though Illinois no longer uses the term “custody” as it pertains to children, the issues of parenting time and parental responsibilities remain just as important. A skilled Kane County family law attorney may be able to help ensure an allocation of responsibilities and parenting time schedule that takes your unique circumstances into account. The Law Offices of Benedict Schwarz, II P.C. has experience working with parents with many different needs and situations. Call us today at 847-428-7725 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. 




  • Illinois Best Law Firms
  • Super lawyers
  • Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Comission
  • Lawyers Association Program
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Kane County Bar Association
  • DuPage Bar Association
  • Martin Dale
  • aacfl
Back to Top