Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C.
High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213, Hillside, IL 60162
High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213
Hillside, IL 60162



What is the Difference Between “Parental Responsibilities” and “Parenting Time” in Illinois? 

 Posted on July 22, 2022 in Family Law

Oak Park Family Law AttorneyParents of minor children who are getting divorced in Illinois (as well as parents who were never married but who share a minor child) will suddenly find that their parenting abilities and habits are under a magnifying glass. Things that seemed fairly mundane before, such as spending time with the children, making important decisions or deciding to move for a new job, are now under tight restrictions detailed at great length in a legally-binding parenting agreement. 

To make sure that you give your children the best chance of success after a divorce, and to ensure you do not run afoul of Illinois family law, it is important to understand the difference between the two primary categories contained in a parenting plan: “Parental responsibilities” (formerly known as “custody”) and “parenting time” (formerly known as “visitation”). 

What are “Parental Responsibilities”? 

“Parental responsibilities” is a term that refers to the rights to make important decisions on behalf of a minor child. Parents often split parental responsibilities, although sometimes one parent may have all of the parental responsibilities allocated to them. If parents can collaborate when creating their parenting agreement, this split can be customized in any number of creative ways. 

Parental responsibilities are generally divided into four categories: 

  • Religious instruction and observance;

  • Education;

  • Healthcare;

  • Extracurricular activities. 

If one parent feels strongly that their children should be raised in a certain religion, perhaps that parent will make the decisions about religious observance, while the other parent will perhaps manage and coordinate a child’s afterschool activities. Because these areas often overlap, parents will still need to work together and communicate before making decisions that could affect shared areas of decision-making. 

What is “Parenting Time”? 

“Parenting time” is simply the schedule describing the days and times that each parent has the responsibility to care for each child. Not all children in a parenting agreement need to have the same parenting time arrangement; indeed, where there is a wide variety in age and personal preferences of the children, the parenting time schedule for each child is likely to vary considerably. During parenting time, a parent is responsible for the child’s range of care needs, such as food, hygiene, homework, sleep schedules, and all other parts of a child’s life that he or she may need help or guidance with. 

Again, parents can be creative and  considerate of each other’s preferences when creating a parenting plan. As long as the final arrangement  meets the legal requirements, and is in the best interests of a child, a judge is likely to approve an agreement that parents have created. 

Contact an Oak Park Child Custody Attorney 

Understanding your responsibilities in a newly-established parenting agreement is essential for ensuring you remain compliant with Illinois law, as well as for helping your children thrive after a divorce. To get help from an experienced Hillside, IL child custody lawyer, call Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C. to schedule a complimentary consultation. Contact us at 708-449-7404 today. 



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