Parent-time Holidays Illinois

Russell Knight

Russell D. Knight has been practicing family law as a Chicago divorce lawyer since 2006. Russell D. Knight amicably resolves tough cases while remaining a strong advocate for his client’s interests.

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Parent-time Holidays In Illinois

Parent-time Holidays Illinois

Holidays are special times but they’re even more special with kids. After a break up or a divorce it’s important for both the parents and the kids to know where they’ll be spending which holiday. So, what are the parent-time holidays in Illinois?

How Holiday Parenting Time Is Established In Illinois

After a divorce is filed or a parentage action is filed in an Illinois courts the parents must file a proposed parenting plan.

“All parents, within 120 days after service or filing of any petition for allocation of parental responsibilities, must file with the court, either jointly or separately, a proposed parenting plan.” 750 ILCS 5/602.10(a)

That parenting plan must include language specifying “each parent’s parenting time, including either: (A) a schedule that designates in which parent’s home the minor child will reside on given days; or

(B) a formula or method for determining such a schedule in sufficient detail to be enforced in a subsequent proceeding” 750 ILCS 5/602.10(a)

Presumably, the holidays will be included in this schedule. The statute doesn’t require holidays to be included. It is a parent’s responsibility to propose a holiday schedule to the other parent and the Illinois divorce court.

Some parents can’t get beyond ”one week on/one week off” and just leave the holidays to land within their time at random. This is not a good idea for any parent or child.

If the parties cannot agree on a joint parenting plan to be entered by the an Illinois divorce court, the parties must proceed to mediation, possibly hire a Guardian Ad Litem to investigate and recommend parenting time and, finally, let the court craft a parenting schedule that would be in the best interests of the children.

An Illinois divorce court will still consider your proposed parenting plan in a contested custody case but will prioritize the best interests of the children.

“The court shall conduct a trial or hearing to determine a plan which maximizes the child’s relationship and access to both parents and shall ensure that the access and the overall plan are in the best interests of the child. The court shall take the parenting plans into consideration when determining parenting time and responsibilities at trial or hearing.” 750 ILCS 5/602.10(g)

A Typical Holiday Parenting Schedule After An Illinois Divorce

Allocating holidays between parents is probably the easiest yet most important part of any Illinois parenting plan. The system is simple: each parent gets a particular holiday on one year but doesn’t get that holiday on the following year. Some holidays, like the parent’s birthday, Mother’s or Father’s Day, go to that particular parent every year.

In addition to dividing specific holidays, parents will also have to divide up extended school breaks to allow for consistency for the kids and possible vacations for everyone.

A sample schedule to include in an Allocation of Parenting Time and Parental Responsibility is included below.

  1. Martin Luther King Day.  Parent shall exercise parenting time at 3PM the day prior with pick up directly at school and a 6 PM drop off on the day of.  MOM shall be allocated Odd Years and DAD Even Years. 
  2. February Break. Parent shall exercise parenting time at 3PM the day prior with pick up directly at school and a 6 PM drop off on the day before school starts. MOM shall be allocated even Years and DAD odd Years. 
  3. Spring Break.  Parent shall exercise parenting time at 3PM the day prior with pick up directly at school and a 6 PM drop off on the day before school starts. MOM shall be allocated Odd Years and DAD Even Years. 
  4. Easter. Parent shall exercise parenting time on Thursday at 3pm until the day before school starts at 6pm.  If Spring Break and Easter overlap, Easter trumps Spring Break. MOM shall be allocated Even Years and DAD Odd Years. 
  5. Mother’s Day. MOM Every Year. 
  6. Memorial Day. Parent shall exercise parenting time Friday at 3pm to Monday at 6pm/ school drop-off. MOM shall be allocated Odd Years and DAD Even Years. 
  7. Father’s Day. DAD Every Year.
  8. The parents shall have summer parenting time with the child according to agreement of the parents based on the child’s schedules and activities. Each parent shall have the option of taking one (1) consecutive week of parenting time with the child, which time shall include the parties’ regular weekend. DAD shall have his choice of weeks in odd-numbered years and MOM shall have her choice in even-numbered years.  Each shall submit his or her proposal to the other parent by April 30th of a given year.  If a parent misses the April 30th deadline, then the parent who submits his or her proposal first shall be given first choice.All scheduling of the Summer will be communicated via email.
  9. Labor Day Weekend.  Parent shall exercise parenting time Friday at 3pm to Monday at 6pm/school drop-off. MOM shall be allocated Even Years and DAD Odd Years. 
  10. October Break. Parent shall exercise parenting time Thursday at 3pm – Sunday at 6pm/school drop-off. MOM shall be allocated Odd Years and DAD Even Years. 
  11. Halloween. Parent with the child that day will share reasonable in-person access for part of the day, no less than two hours on a school day and no less than four hours on a day when the child does not have school.
  12. Thanksgiving Break. Parent shall exercise parenting time the day the children get out of school at 3pm  to Thursday at 12pm(noon).. Other parent will get the child Thursday 12 pm (noon) to  Sunday at 6pm/school or drop-off on Monday. MOM gets the 1st part and DAD the 2nd part. In Odd Years, DAD gets the 1st part and MOM the 2nd part in even years
  13. Winter Break. Parent shall exercise parenting time from the first day the children get out of school at 3pm to the 2nd Saturday at  3pm. The other parent shall exercise parenting time from the 2nd Saturday at 3pm to day before school starts at 6pm or school drop-off . In Even Years, MOM gets the 1st part and MATT the 2nd part. In Odd Years, DAD gets the 1st part and Bobbi the 2nd part. Whichever parent has the children on Christmas day, shall provide reasonable parenting time (at least 6 hours) to the other parent from at least noon until 6 pm on Christmas day.

The above is only a sample. There is NO standard holiday schedule. Every family’s parenting schedule will look different. You can ask for any holiday schedule you like.

Should your spouse disagree with your proposed holiday schedule, you can present singular issues like holidays to the judge in a pretrial hearing for a recommended ruling (which almost always gets adopted).

Different families will have different holiday traditions. If the parents are of different religions each respective parent should be allocated the holidays for those religions with sufficient notice and instructions regarding possible overlap of those holidays.

Distributing these holidays is done determining what is in the best interests of the child. If the child is sick, has a scheduled activity or any other reasonable event, the parents should be flexible with that holiday schedule.

Any holiday schedule is only mandatory should the parents disagree. The parents can, at any time agree to deviate from the parenting plan. But, it is probably a good idea to have that agreement in writing via email at least.

Holiday Make Up Parenting Time In Ilinois

Even with a perfectly crafted parenting plan and the best of intentions, emergencies are going to happen that cause parents to miss out on a holiday with a particular parent.

The parenting plan must have a clause that will accommodate make up time in such an eventuality.

Should the parties not be able to agree on a holiday make up time an Illinois divorce court will order that “a requirement that makeup parenting time be provided for the aggrieved parent or child under the following conditions:

  • that the parenting time is of the same type and duration as the parenting time that was denied, including but not limited to parenting time during weekends, on holidays, and on weekdays and during times when the child is not in school;
  • that the parenting time is made up within 6 months after the noncompliance occurs, unless the period of time or holiday cannot be made up within 6 months, in which case the parenting time shall be made up within one year after the noncompliance occurs;” 750 ILCS 5/607.5(c)(5)

If you’re looking for parent-time during a holiday, crafting a parenting plan with holidays or trying to enforce your parenting plan’s holiday schedule, contact my Chicago, Illinois family law firm for a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced Chicago divorce attorney.