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Kevin O'Flaherty

In this article, we explain petitions for Allocation of Parenting Time and Responsibility in Illinois.  We discuss: 

  • How to prepare a Petition for Allocation of Parenting Time and Responsibility;
  • How to file a Petition for Allocation of Parenting Time and Responsibility;
  • Creation of a parenting plan;
  • Mandatory parenting classes; and
  • How does a judge determine what is in the best interests of the child?

How to Prepare a Petition for Allocation of Parenting Time and Responsibility

In order to ask the Court for parental responsibilities, you must file a petition for one of the following events:

  • Divorce
  • Parentage
  • Legal Separation
  • Parental Responsibilities
  • Order of Protection

You should consult with an attorney to help you evaluate the type of petition you should submit.   

A petition for allocation of parental responsibilities must include all of the following information:

  • Your name;
  • The other parent’s name;
  • Your child’s name;
  • Your child’s birthdate
  • How parentage was established (or ask the Court to determine parentage); and
  • A statement addressed to the court, requesting that a judge award you parental responsibilities, including parenting time and sole decision-making power

Each parent must also provide a financial affidavit with expanded information about where the child (or children) lived for the past five years, as well as any other past or current parental responsibility or custody cases involving the child.

How to File a Petition for the Allocation of Parenting Time and Responsibility

A petition for allocation of parental responsibilities should be filed with the clerk of the circuit court in the county in which the child resides along with a summons that will inform the other parent that the case has been filed as well as of the date, time, and location of the initial court date. You will pay the clerk a filing fee when the petition and summons are filed. File-stamped copies must then be personally served upon the other parent. This is usually accomplished by delivering copies of the petition and summons to the county sheriff and paying a fee for service.

Creating a Parenting Plan for Your Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

A parenting plan is a proposal for how parenting time and responsibility will be divided between the parents. The sooner you can craft a parenting plan, the better.  Parenting plans must be turned in no later than 120 days after the petition was first filed.  If you and the other parent can come to an agreement via mediation or between themselves, the judge will likely approve it.  Precedence is always given to parents that can make a plan together, as the state of Illinois recognizes that a relationship with both parents is in the best interests of the child.

For more on this, check out our article: Parenting Plans and Joint Parenting Agreements in Illinois.

Mandatory Parenting Classes

Before you can set a trial date, each parent must attend a mandatory parenting class.  Check with your county clerk about times and dates for the class, or to see if you are eligible to take the course online.  Both the physical class and the online course are approximately 4 hours long.  Upon completion of the class, remember to print the certificate to submit to your lawyer as proof of completion.

For more, check out: Court Ordered Parenting Classes Explained.

How Does the Judge Determine what is in the Best Interests of the Child?

After all the paperwork has been turned in and the lawyers have a sufficient amount of information to present to the judge, it is finally time to set a trial day and go to court.  Here is a list of some of the things the judge will take into consideration when the time has come to issue a final order:

  • What the parents want
  • What the child wants, if the child is old enough and mature enough
  • The child’s relationship with the parents, siblings, or other people
  • The mental and physical health of all parties
  • The child's adjustment to home, school, and the community
  • Whether one of the parents is a sex offender
  • Any past and ongoing acts of violence by a parent against the other parent or a child
  • For parents who are in the military, the terms of a parent’s military family care plan
  • Whether the parent is willing to work to make sure the other parent plays a part in the child’s life

The court will also consider which parent has been making decisions for the child in the past, as well as the ability of parents to cooperate in making decisions.  The court also looks at how much time each parent spent taking care of the child.  Each parent will get a chance to present evidence which demonstrates how much money and time they’ve spent taking care of the child.  Once all of the evidence has been submitted to the court, the judge will make a final decision, and the hearing will conclude.  For more detailed information about parenting time and decision-making privileges, see our article entitled Allocation of Parenting time & Responsibility Explained | Illinois Child Custody.  You can also read our article about Illinois Parenting Laws and Child Custody laws for 2019 by clicking here.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.


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