What Responsibilities Are Involved in Parenting Time?

What Responsibilities Are Involved in Parenting Time?

By: M. Scott Gordon


When parents split up — whether they are getting divorced or simply ending a relationship — and they have minor children, they will need to learn more about the allocation of parental responsibilities. Rather than award child custody to one or both parents, courts instead allocate parental responsibilities according to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA).

Under the IMDMA, there are two major components of parental responsibilities: significant decision-making responsibilities and parenting time. Given that these terms are still relatively new to Illinois family law, they might not make immediately sense to parents who are going through a divorce. While parents might be able to conceive what is involved in significant decision-making responsibilities, the term “parenting time” can seem a bit more vague. We want to provide you with more information about what responsibilities are involved in parenting time.

Defining Parenting Time Under the IMDMA

Under the IMDMA, parenting time is considered time in which a parent is responsible for caretaking functions and non-significant decision-making responsibilities for the child.

Non-significant decision-making responsibilities might be imagined in opposition to significant decision-making responsibilities, the latter of which are defined as “deciding issues of long-term importance in the life of the child.” In general, significant decision-making responsibilities can include making decisions about a child’s education, a child’s health care and a child’s religious upbringing. Non-significant decision-making responsibilities tend to be any responsibilities that are not likely to have long-term importance in the child’s life, and generally are seen as day-to-day decisions.

In addition to making non-significant decisions, parenting time also includes providing caretaking functions takes up most of what is involved in parenting time.

According to Illinois Law, What Are Caretaking Functions? 

Caretaking functions, which are part of the parental responsibilities associated with parenting time, are defined by  the IMDMA as those that include interaction with a child or that direct the interaction with and care of a child offered by others.

The IMDMA provides numerous examples of caretaking functions. Some of those examples cited in the statute include the following:

  • Managing a child’s bedtime and wake-up routines;
  • Being attentive to a child’s personal hygiene needs;
  • Providing discipline;
  • Ensuring the child attends school;
  • Supervising homework; and
  • Ensuring a child attends medical appointments.

The statute cites additional caretaking functions, as well as more detailed descriptions of the caretaking functions cited above. In general, the examples listed above help to give a better understanding of what kind of caretaking functions make up the responsibilities associated with parenting time.

Contact a Parenting Time Lawyer in Chicago 

Do you have questions or concerns about parenting time and the allocation of parental responsibilities? An experienced parenting time lawyer in Chicago at our firm can speak with you today. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC to get started on your case.