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As the weather starts to change, parents and children alike begin thinking about summer. Whether your children enjoy time outside or long days of relaxing at home, for many children, it is a time to rest before the start of another school year.

However, if you are still learning the ropes of sharing custody of your children, summer approaching can feel like a new challenge to navigate. Just when you and your ex got into a comfortable pattern for the school year, it may be time to change your schedule.

Here’s what you should know about how summer break could impact your child custody arrangement.


When you split from your Illinois spouse and the two of you share a child together, you need to work through dividing parental responsibilities as part of your divorce. You also need to determine if one of you is going to be responsible for paying the other child support. This depends to some degree on the custody arrangement you and your ex or the court decide on.

Per the Illinois General Assembly, the state’s family court system considers the best interests of your child when allocating parental responsibilities. The courts typically consider the following elements and areas, among others, when making decisions about parenting time and decision-making responsibility.

Your child’s desires

If your child is at an age where the court thinks he or she should have a say in where to live and when it may allow your child to voice these preferences.


The supply chain is not the only thing that could put a damper on the holidays this year. Divorced parents will also need to navigate child custody arrangements during the holiday season. So while you make a point to get a few early gifts in case there is a supply chain back-up, it is also a good idea to review what custody time will look like during the holidays.

What does the court consider a holiday?

This may seem like an odd question, but parents may be surprised by what is considered a holiday when it comes to time with their children. Some holidays are clear, and parents may ask for a specific date. Christmas, for example, always falls on December 25. Other holidays may not occur on a set day, Chanukkah is a great example as the celebration starts and ends on a different date every year.

Ideally, parents who value certain holiday traditions and want to share those celebrations with their children will account for this within the divorce settlement agreement and child custody arrangement.


By now, almost all schoolchildren in the Naperville area are on summer vacation. But summer goes by fast. In a few months, school will start again, with most (if not all) students planning on back to in-person learning this fall.

If you are getting divorced this summer, the 2021-22 school year could be your kids’ first time dealing with school while also living in a shared child custody arrangement. This will require adjustments for yourself, your ex, and most importantly, the children. Fortunately, by keeping your children’s schooling in mind when negotiating your parenting plan, you can make the transition easier and help your kids thrive in their education.

Two possible custody plans to help your kids in school

There are several options that allow you to share custody while still giving your kids stability so they can go to class, do their homework, and take part in extracurricular activities. One option is to have the children alternate weeks between your and your ex’s homes. This is a good option for older children who can better handle being away from one of their parents for an entire week. A twist on the week-to-week plan is to throw in a mid-week evening visit or overnight stay. For example, the child could be living with parent A for the week but have dinner (or spend the night) with parent B on Wednesday night, then vice versa the next week.


As in other states, Illinois law now uses the term “parenting time” in lieu of “physical custody”. This reflects the fact that family courts prioritize thebest interests of the childwhen determining whether he or she lives with one parent or alternates between households.

In general, the court favors an arrangement that fosters a close relationship with both parents. However, even when parents share physical custody, the time that the child spends with each parent may not be evenly split. Additionally, if one parent has demonstrated that he or she is unfit, the court may award sole custody to the other ex-spouse.

Physical custody and parenting plans

Even when parents share physical custody, it is unlikely that the child will spend precisely half of his or her time with each parent. Rather, divorcing individuals must submit adetailed parenting planthat specifies which days of the week the child will spend with each parent, including holidays and school breaks.

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