When parents of minor children get divorced in Illinois, they need to submit something called a “parenting plan” to a judge for approval. In the best-case scenario, parents will have already created a parenting plan together and can simply submit it to the court as part of an uncontested divorce. When this is not possible, however, parents can still work together using the help of a mediator or collaborative divorce team to negotiate a parenting plan. If absolutely necessary, a judge can intervene and make custody decisions on behalf of a couple who cannot negotiate the terms of their parenting plan themselves. However you eventually get to your final parenting plan, it is important to understand what it is and what it needs to address.
What is a Parenting Plan?
Parenting plans, otherwise known as child custody agreements, are legally binding agreements that detail exactly how a divorced couple will manage their underage children. Once a parenting plan has been approved by a judge and entered as part of a divorce decree or divorce order modification, parents must follow the parenting plan or face legal consequences.
A parenting plan will address the two major parts of child custody in Illinois: The allocation of parental responsibilities, which is the right to make important decisions on behalf of a child, and parenting time, which is the right to spend time with a child.
What Does a Parenting Plan Need to Include?
Parenting plans are highly detailed documents and need to address a number of important issues. These include, but are not limited to:
Parenting time schedules during the school year and holidays
How children will be transferred between parents’ homes
Which parent will make decisions regarding education, healthcare, extracurricular activities, and a religious upbringing
The right of first refusal
The rules each parent must follow regarding relocating with a child
Whether parents agree to seek mediation when modifying a parenting plan
How parents will communicate about issues regarding the children
This may seem like a lot of things to consider, but your divorce attorney will help you develop a parenting plan step by step so you and your children have a smart, structured plan to rely on.
Call a Chicago, IL Parenting Plan Lawyer
While creating a parenting plan that works for you and your family may not be easy, you can take comfort in knowing that many thousands of families have done it and, with the help of an experienced Chicago, IL child custody lawyer, you will be able to do it, too. Get started today by calling the firm of NextLevel Law, P.C. by Daniel R. Hernandez, Esq. and scheduling a free consultation at 312-442-2225.