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Know the Laws: Illinois

UPDATED September 19, 2017

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This page has Illinois-specific information on allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time.  There is also a general custody information page, which may be helpful.

Basic information and definitions

back to topWhat is the difference between "allocation of parental responsibilities" and "parenting time"?

In 2016, there was a change in Illinois law regarding the use of the words custody and visitation.  The term "allocation of parental responsibilities" or "significant decision-making responsibility" has replaced "custody" and the term "parenting time" has replaced "visitation."  

Illinois law defines parenting time as the time during which a parent is taking care of the child and has "non-significant decision-making responsibilities" for the child while the child is in his/her care.*   When explaining allocation of parental responsibilities, the law refers to which parent will have significant decision-making responsibility, which addresses which parent makes important decisions for the child in the areas of education, healthcare, extracurricular activities, and religion.** 

* 750 ILCS 5/801
** See 750 ILCS 5/602.5(b)

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back to topShould I start a court case to ask for supervised visits?

If you are not comfortable with the abuser being alone with your child, you might be thinking about asking the judge to order that visits with your child be supervised. If you are already in court because the abuser filed for visitation or custody, you may not have much to lose by asking that the visits be supervised if you can present a valid reason for your request (although this may depend on your situation).

However, if there is no current court case, please get legal advice BEFORE you start a court case to ask for supervised visits. We strongly recommend that you talk to an attorney who specializes in custody matters to find out what you would have to prove to get the visits supervised and how long supervised visits would last, based on the facts of your case.

In the majority of cases, supervised visits are only a temporary measure. Although the exact visitation order will vary by state, county, or judge, the judge might order a professional to observe the other parent on a certain amount of visits or the visits might be supervised by a relative for a certain amount of time -- and if there are no obvious problems, the visits may likely become unsupervised. Oftentimes, at the end of a case, the other parent ends up with more frequent and/ or longer visits than s/he had before you went into court or even some form of custody.

In some cases, to protect your child from immediate danger by the abuser, starting a case to ask for custody and supervised visits is appropriate. To find out what may be best in your situation, please go to IL Finding a Lawyer to seek out legal advice.

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