Divorce is not uncommon in Illinois and as a result many local children grow up with parents living in two locations. In these situations there is often a child custody agreement in place to govern each parent's role in raising the child. These orders determine which parent will make the decisions regarding the child or whether the parents will share that responsibility with joint custody.
However, even if the parents have joint custody of a child, it does not automatically mean that there will also be an even split of the parenting time. That decision is separate from the custody decision. Even if a parent does not have custody, they are still presumed fit to have parenting time with the child unless they will endanger the child.
In determining how much time each parent will have with the child, the court will analyze a number of factors. These may be very similar to the factors used to determine child custody itself, which include, but are not limited to: the wishes of the parents and the child depending on the age and maturity of the child, which parent was the primary caretaker when they were together, the child's needs and adjustment, the willingness of the parents to encourage interaction with the other parent and many others.
Many parenting time factors are similar to these factors used to determine custody, but they focus more on the day to day care of the child and how to best meet those needs. Also, most conduct of the parent which does not affect the parent-child relationship will not be considered when determining parenting time.
Child custody determinations in Illinois decide which parent will be making decisions regarding the child. However, there also must be a determination for parenting time as well, which is separate from the child custody determination. Parents struggling with their child custody issues may wish to seek help from an experienced attorney.
Source: Illinois General Assembly, "750 ILCS 5/602.7," accessed on Aug. 31, 2015