Divorcing spouses have many additional issues to consider when they share children. In Illinois, divorcing parents are asked to provide a “parenting plan” to the court. This plan provides the basis for the child custody arrangement after the split is finalized. Developing a parenting plan is rarely simple, and there are seemingly countless factors to consider. If you are a parent who plans to divorce soon, make sure you understand your obligations and rights regarding the parenting plan.
Illinois law allows parents 120 days to file a parenting plan after the divorce petition is filed. If the parents can agree on the provisions of the parenting plan, they can simply submit the plan directly to the court. If they do not agree, the court may require them to attend mediation. During mediation, the couple works with a trained mediator in hopes of reaching a compromise on the disputed provisions. If parents cannot reach an agreement during mediation or through their respective attorneys, the court may make a ruling deciding on the unresolved issues.
Every parenting plan must include certain elements, but parents are allowed to include additional information as needed. At minimum, the parenting plan will include provisions addressing the:
Allocation of parental responsibilities – This describes each parent’s authority to make significant decisions about their child such as where the child goes to school.
Allocation of parenting time – Parenting time is the time the child spends with each parent.
Designation of the parent with the majority of parenting time – The plan will identify which parent has the majority of parenting time. This was formerly called the custodial parent.
Parental rights – Parents have the right to access their child’s medical records, school records, and other important information. Parents also have the right to be notified of child-related emergencies, travel plans, and other important matters.
Parent information – The plan includes each parent’s name, address, phone number, and employment information.
Transportation plans – The plan includes information about how the parents will pick up and drop off the children from each other’s homes.
Plans for modifications- The parenting plan includes information about how and when the parenting plan may be modified in the future.
Right of first refusal – This gives the parents the right to be notified if the parent with parenting time cannot fulfill his or her parenting time obligation. The other parent must be given the opportunity to care for the child before a third party such as a babysitter is contacted.
If you are getting divorced and you have children, make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities regarding the parenting plan. Call the skilled DuPage County divorce lawyers at J. Aldrich Law, P.C. for a free consultation at 630-953-3000.