Father and young son look at mobile phone. Father and young son looking at mobile phone.

Rockford Divorce Lawyer James Teeter


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Parenting Plan Lawyer for Custody & Visitation

We understand how important it is to raise your child in your household. Your children are your treasures.

Unfortunately, in a divorce with children, or in a separation involving unmarried parents, decisions and plans need to be made regarding where the children will live, and how parenting time will be divided.

If you would like assistance with constructing a parenting plan that protects you and the interest of your children, I invite you to call my office to schedule a free consultation. As an experienced Illinois parenting time lawyer and parenting plan attorney, I can listen to your needs and explain how I can help in pursuing a favorable parenting time agreement.

Parenting Time FAQs

Parenting time refers to the time that divorced or separated parents will have with their children, which is typically set forth in a parenting time agreement.  A parenting time agreement can also include other matters concerning children, such as decision-making authority, religious upbringing, and school choice.

Parenting time is a new term that replaces child custody.  Formerly, child custody focused on decisions concerning with which parent the children would reside.  Such parent would be the “custodial” parent, while the other parent was said to have “visitation.”

These terms have become outdated, as both parents are now assumed to be entitled to significant time with their children (or “parenting time”).  Thus, the terms “custody” and “visitation” denigrate the relationship to which parents are entitled with respect to their children.

A parenting plan is a document that allocates parental responsibilities, such as major decision-making and the amount of time each parent can spend with a child. If both parties can amicably agree on pertinent decisions regarding the care of a child, they may execute and file a single, joint parenting plan.

At a minimum, an Illinois parenting time plan must detail:

  • Where a child will live;
  • The time a child will spend with each parent;
  • How each parent can obtain information and records regarding a child; and
  • How a child will be transported between visits.

In highly contentious matters or when parents are unable to agree on critical decisions, the parties may file separate plans. In such cases, Illinois courts will examine the details of both plans and determine what is in the best interests of the child. Alternatively, if neither party files a parenting plan, a judge will make a determination based on what he or she believes is in the best interest of the child.

As noted above, parenting time concerns more than just a schedule of when each parent will have their children.  It also involves determining how the major decisions regarding the education, health care, and religious instruction of children will be made.

More specifically, there may be issues such as:

  • Will the children attend public or private school?
  • Will the children have special instruction in music, sports, or other activities that may require significant time and/or money?
  • Will the children require braces or have other medical needs that need to be addressed?

As all parents know, these and other matters require money.  To the extent that these issues (and who will pay) can be addressed in a parenting plan agreement, the more smoothly that parenting will go, both for the parents and the children.

Parenting time and child custody decisions are not easily modified without the consent of both parents, and the decisions set forth in a parenting time agreement can have ramifications for years. As a result, it is vital to fully understand every aspect of the parenting plan detailed in a parenting time and custody agreement.

There are three different types of custody arrangements in Illinois: joint custody, sole custody, and shared custody.  Contrary to common belief, “Joint Custody” does not mean equal decision-making and parenting time.  Instead, the provisions of a Joint Parenting Agreement govern how these, and other aspects will be handled. As such, it is critical to ensure that your parenting time plan meets your and your children’s long-term needs and objectives.

In Illinois, Child Custody issues are governed by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (the “Illinois Divorce Act”) which directs the Court in custody matters to act in accordance with the “Best Interests Test.” Simply stated, the Judge will seek to determine what custody arrangement is best for the children.

There is an initial presumption for joint legal custody and a trend towards equality between the mother and father in determining physical custody. The process of determining custody is designed to force the parents to negotiate, with each step becoming more time-consuming and expensive.

A parenting plan must be filed within 120 days of petitioning the Illinois family courts for parental responsibilities. If both parents come to an agreement regarding parenting time and major decisions concerning a child, a joint parenting plan (executed by both parties) can be filed with the court. Conversely, if the parties cannot come to an agreement, each parent may file separately.

How We Help Reduce Your Stress and Protect Your Children in Illinois Child Visitation and Parenting Time Matters.

As an Illinois Child Custody Attorney, I can help reduce your stress by taking on the full responsibility for understanding what parenting arrangement is in the best interests of your children and developing a detailed, customized custody plan.

We start by learning about the facts of your situation.  We ask questions and explore and discuss possible alternatives with you so that we can better understand your objectives.  This also helps in negotiating issues that may be contentious.  As your legal counsel, we convey information to the Court and seek to convince it that your custody goals are also in the best interest of your children.

Schedule A Free Consultation with An Experienced Rockford Parenting Plan Lawyer

As an Parenting plan and child custody issues often arise in the context of a divorce or separation. When facing a major family transition, past resentments can come to the surface and far too often the children are caught in the middle.

As an It is not uncommon for one parent to attempt to use the children to force a property settlement. Custody issues can also be complicated by mental health and addiction issues.  Nothing can be more harmful to a child than for post-separation conflicts over the children’s care and upbringing to be ongoing for years.  You need peace of mind.

As an experienced Illinois child custody lawyer and parenting plan attorney, I stand ready to help navigate all aspects of challenging custody and parenting time matters.

I know that every child custody situation is unique, and that a fair, customized custody arrangement that is designed to meet the needs of the children affected will be the arrangement that is most likely to be approved by the court.

When your children’s welfare is at stake, you need a capable attorney whom you can trust.

You will receive straightforward and honest advice from our office. If your ex-spouse or ex-partner is willing, I make it a goal to avoid unnecessary adversity. If they are unwilling to pursue solutions amicably, as a tenacious family law attorney, I will work hard to represent you aggressively to protect your rights.

As an Illinois family law firm offering comprehensive and dedicated representation to residents in Rockford and the surrounding communities, we can handle all of the Child Custody and Visitation aspects of your divorce or separation. Call our office today at 815-904-6246 to schedule a free consultation to learn how we may be able to help support you and your family.

For more information about child matters, please click on any of the following links:

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Attorney James O. Teeter, Jr. speaking with client. Attorney James O. Teeter, Jr. speaking with client.

Family Law Attorney James O. Teeter Jr.
With 25+ Years of Legal Experience
is Here to Represent You!


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(1.5 Hrs.) One Hour for $199 + 30-Minutes FREE with No-Obligation | In-Person, by Zoom or by Phone
In-Depth Discussion of Your Specific Situation and Potential Strategy | Or

Type of Case:*
Illinois County:*
Please enter a number from 0 to 21.

Submission of information through the contact form does not create an attorney-client relationship, so please do not submit any confidential information. If we are to serve as your attorneys, all fees and the nature of our representation will be set forth in a written agreement.