Our Family Lawyers Can Help Find the Ideal Arrangement for All Parties

The ideal summer vacation arrangement differs on each family’s situation. In all cases, parents should first consider the child’s best interests. It is always better if parents can agree between themselves as to how parenting time will be allocated by considering factors such as:

  • The distance between the two homes
  • The child’s summer school, camp, and extracurricular activity schedules and needs
  • The age of the child and appropriate available age-related activities
  • Both parents’ work and vacation schedules and the amount of time that can be spent with the child
  • Help available from grandparents or other relatives.

If you and your co-parent cannot agree, the courts will make child-parenting time determinations for you, and there may be better solutions than this.

Our Woodridge custody lawyers can explain each of these issues in greater detail. Contact us now to 630-305-0222 to schedule your free consultation with a skilled attorney.

Does Custody Play a Role in Summer Visitation Schedules for Child Custody?

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act lets the courts decide visitation and child custody (parental rights) based on many factors, including:

  • The wishes of the child
  • The wishes of the parents
  • The child’s needs
  • The level of parental participation in the past and their part in decision-making
  • The difficulty of transportation, the distance between residences, and each parent’s daily schedules
  • The child’s adjustment to their home, community, and school
  • Possible threats of physical violence directed at the child or another person
  • Reported abuse, such as emotional, verbal, or physical
  • The willingness of the parties to work with one another in raising the child.

These factors play a role in establishing summer visitation schedules for child custody, often with increased flexibility for the child over the summer.

Our attorneys help you to understand how the law and summer child custody are connected. We listen and work with you to help the child have a positive experience and reduce legal liabilities.


The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/) states Illinois parenting time and visitation laws. Since the guidelines are flexible, judges generally prefer for parents to work out the schedules between themselves or with their attorneys. Still, if parents can’t cooperate, the court will devise a schedule.

Illinois’ custody and visitation laws distinguish between physical and legal custody. Parents with “physical custody” live with the child. Parents with “legal custody” can make major medical, educational, or religious decisions on the child’s behalf. Possible custody arrangements are:

  • One parent has sole legal and physical custody
  • Joint custody to both parents
  • Other combinations, such as one parent having physical custody and both parents sharing legal custody.

In Illinois, the parent with primary physical custody of the child is designated as the “custodial parent.” The other parent, even if sharing physical custody of the child, is called the “non-custodial parent.” {750 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/602.5 (2020)}.


The law recognizes that a child’s best interest is to spend adequate time with each parent as long as it doesn’t pose a risk to the child’s safety, stability, or well-being. It means the non-custodial parent should have reasonable visitation, depending on the family’s circumstances. In most cases, a non-custodial parent is entitled to at least the minimum visitation schedule, with visitation one weeknight per week, overnights every other weekend, and an extended summer visit.

There should be specific provisions about scheduling placed in the parenting agreement that parents agree to follow. A standard provision is the right of first refusal – a parent must first offer the other parent the opportunity to take the child if the residential parent leaves the child with a childcare provider. Other provisions might be about travel arrangements – which parent will be transporting the child and where the exchange will occur.

Factors Affecting Schedules

When developing parenting time schedules, many factors may come into play, including:

  • Distance — Long-distance visitation creates problems in direct proportion to the distance involved. It’s easier to create visitation schedules when the distance is drivable. When flying is necessary, especially when the child is too young to fly unaccompanied, factors to consider include who will travel with or transport the child, who is going to pay for travel expenses, who is in charge of making travel arrangements, where the visiting parent will stay, etc.
  • Facilities – Can the normally non-custodial parent provide adequate care and recreation for the children? Does that parent have a work schedule that allows for quality time with the children, and can that parent provide daycare, camp, or other supervised activities while the parent is at work?
  • Age – Since babies and toddlers forget quickly, they must see each parent as frequently as possible. Older children are more flexible, but teenagers need a schedule for their social life and activities.
  • Each parent’s schedule and lifestyle – Consider each parent’s work schedule, social life, and other obligations. Does the parent have a new partner, and how does the partner relate to the children?

The amount and schedule of visitation should depend on the child’s age, the needs of the child, and what works for the parents. Arrangements may change during summer and school holidays when the child can live with the non-residential parent and visit the other parent.

Several Summer Schedule Arrangements Could Work

Examples of typical summer break schedules include:

  • Swapping time with the parents’ time for the summer break schedule. Any usual residential schedule can be swapped for the summer, providing parents can make arrangements for proper child supervision. For example, suppose the usual visiting time is an alternating weekend schedule where the child lives with the mother and visits the father every other weekend. In that case, the child can spend the summer living with the father and visiting the mother every other weekend.
  • Giving one parent all of the time during the summer break schedule. This plan is beneficial when there is a long distance between parents’ residences, which makes it impossible for children to see the non-residential parent often during the school year. The normally non-residential parent can now be with the child full-time during the entire summer or during a block of time for part of the summer.
  • Creating a new residential schedule for the summer break. For example, parents can alternate having the child every two or every three weeks during the summer.
  • Using vacation time. Parents can stick to their schedule during the summer but take a block of scheduled time to take the child on vacation.
  • Alternating years. Schedules do not have to be written in stone. Two schedules can alternate or vary in different years if parents agree.

Once you agree on a schedule, it’s a good idea to put it on a custody calendar that lays out each parent’s time with the children.

Why Choose Us?

Child custody laws are complex, and you need a skilled attorney to guide you. Summer visitation child custody schedules become complex, and you might see your child less. Our attorneys work with you to create a schedule that respects your rights as a parent and gets results for you.

Illinois uses flexible custody guidelines when you are in a co-parent arrangement. We help you to create a summer schedule for your child that fits everyone’s plans and lifestyle to avoid conflicts. These plans are effective even when both parents are not in agreement. We make it easier to work things out and to look out for you.

Our team has decades of experience working on child custody cases, and we understand your challenges. We use our extensive knowledge and experience to protect your rights. Our clients give us five-star views for practical and prudent legal advice that gets results.

Our team will take the time to prepare your case and create a legal strategy that gets results. We work with the other side to negotiate solutions that work for everyone, but we are prepared to go to court if necessary. Our readiness to handle any challenges helps to get results for our clients.

We give your case the attention it deserves and are excellent communicators. Our team leaves nothing to chance, and we pursue all avenues to look out for you. Communication is one of the top priorities, and your attorney always keeps you in the loop.

Our attorneys understand the stress your children are placed under during the summer. They want the freedom to live their lives and yet spend time with both parents. Our team works with everyone, so we can create an arrangement for the summer that protects you and represents the best interests of all parties.

Contact Wolfe & Stec at 630-305-0222 to schedule your free consultation with a skilled attorney. Our team will review your situation and discuss the options we can pursue to get results.

Attorney Natalie Stec

Natalie M. Stec, born and raised in Illinois, and earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her practice has been concentrated in significant pre and post decree marital and family law cases; including custody, visitation, support, and paternity matters. She has important criminal defense experience in both misdemeanor and felony cases. She is a very dedicated and passionate litigator. [ Attorney Bio ]