Tips for Developing Your Illinois Parenting Plan
Recent revisions to Illinois law require that parents submit a parenting plan to the Court whenever there is a dispute about the allocation of parental responsibilities, or what was previously known as custody and visitation. Parents can also agree to modify their parenting plan and simply submit the plan to the Court for approval. Whatever the case may be, your parenting plan must address certain concerns that involve your children. Essentially, your plan must contain not only the elements required by Illinois law, but also any provisions that may be unique to your family or important to you.
Parenting Plan Basics
A parenting plan is a written document that sets forth each parent’s legal rights and obligations with respect to the children. The plan addresses the same types of issues that a custody agreement or parenting agreement previously addressed. Rather than referring to custody and visitation, however, Illinois law now only refers to the allocation of parental responsibilities, or how parents will effectively parent their child together. Basic elements of a parenting plan include the following:
- Whether one or both parents are responsible for making major decisions about a child’s life, such as educational, religious, medical, extracurricular activities and daycare decisions;
- A detailed schedule that shows when a child spends time with each parent on a weekly or monthly basis, and the address where a child will live primarily, if one parent has greater parental responsibilities than the other, for the purposes of state and federal statutes that require one parent to be designated as the child’s custodian;
- How, where and when the parents will exchange the child for parenting time;
- Whether one or both parents will have access to the child’s medical, dental, school, child care, extracurricular sports and activities records;
- Limitations on how far away one parent can move with the child, including required 60 days advance written notice to the other parent of the intent to move;
- If the parents share decision-making responsibilities, there must be a provision that requires the parents to attend mediation in order to resolve future disputes about changing parental responsibilities or the parenting time schedule;
- Each parent’s home and work addresses and telephone numbers;
- How the parents will notify one another about emergencies, health care issues and travel plans;
- How and to what extent a parent can communicate with the child during the other parent’s parenting time; and
- If the parents desire, a provision for the exercise of the right of first refusal.
The level of detail in a parenting plan varies from case to case. Some parents who have high levels of conflict may need more specific provisions spelled out about how to adjust the schedule if a conflict or emergency arises. Other parents who have a better relationship may be able to just adjust the schedule by agreement as the need arises, and, as a result, do not need such a specific parenting plan.
Implementing a Parenting Plan
If parents agree on a parenting plan, or on revisions to an existing parenting plan, their attorneys can put the plan in writing and submit the plan to the Judge for approval. Once the plan is entered by the Judge, the plan becomes an official Court order. If, however, the parents cannot agree on the provisions that should be contained in the plan, or disagree on one issue or another, the Judge can hold a hearing and make a decision for the parents. The Judge will make a decision on the issue in accordance with what is in the child’s best interests.
Call Your Palatine Parenting Plan Attorneys Today
Nicholas Richardson of The Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson P.C. is dedicated to helping you through your family law case. Whether you have reached an agreement with your child’s other parent on creating a parenting plan, or whether you need the assistance of the Court in order to resolve a dispute, Attorney Richardson is here to advocate on your behalf.
Due to the many requirements set forth in Illinois law that have changed very recently, creating or modifying a parenting plan can be a complex matter. As a result, you need the counsel and advice that only an experienced Palatine family law attorney can provide you. Call 847.873.6741 today.