When parents in Illinois file for divorce, they must determine and legally document how decisions will be made about the child’s life and future, and how much time each parent will spend with the child (and when). This is done through something known as a parenting plan. The following can help you understand the basics of an Illinois parenting plan.
What Is a Parenting Plan?
Considered a legal document, parenting plans are an outline of the allocation of parental responsibilities (custody) and parenting time (visitation) for a couple’s minor child. It must be filed with the court (either jointly or separately) within 120 days of the petition for divorce or parental rights. If the parents both agree on the plan, and if it meets the required guidelines, it will be entered as a binding and legal agreement. In contrast, the parenting plan may be taken to court for litigation.
All parenting plans should be crafted to preserve the child’s best interests. Generally, this means that both parents should have an adequate amount of parenting time. Each should also have an allocation of decision-making responsibilities for the child. Of course, there are extenuating circumstances, such as those that involve documented abuse or neglect. Contact an experienced family law attorney for assistance when drafting a parenting plan for these situations.
Items to Include in Your Parenting Plan
When drafting your parenting plan (either jointly or separately), it is important to be clear and concise on the details. At minimum, you must include:
- An allocation of decision-making responsibilities for each parent;
- Living arrangements for the child;
- A schedule or formula for determining each parent’s allotment of parenting time;
- Designation of the parent who will be considered to have the majority of parenting time;
- Each parent’s access to the child’s school, medical, dental, and psychological records;
- The residential address that will be used for school enrollment;
- A provision that requires a moving parent provide prior notice to the non-moving parent;
- A provision that requires each parent notify the other in the event of an emergency, for travel, or for other significant child-related issues;
- A provision that outlines how a parent may exercise the right to refusal;
- Any and all transportation arrangements for the child;
- How the parents will communicate about the child’s needs;
- A provision that outlines how parents may resolve issues regarding relocation, parenting time, and/or the allocation of parental responsibilities;
- A provision for future modifications to the parenting plan; and
- Any other provisions that might address the best interests of the child.
Our Illinois Family Law Attorneys Can Assist with Your Parenting Plan
There is a lot to consider when developing a parenting plan. Further, any oversights could jeopardize your parental rights or the best interests of your child. Our skilled DuPage County family law attorneysunderstand what is at stake. We can help to ensure that your parenting plan includes all the necessary items and that your family’s future is carefully preserved. Call Mulyk Laho Law, LLC today at (630) 852-1100 for a free consultation.