If you’re involved in child custody and visitation issues stemming from a divorce or paternity case in Illinois, you’re probably familiar with the concept of co-parenting. In many cases, the arrangement is preferred by courts, since the prevailing view is the child benefits by having strong relationships with both parents. This perspective is supported by experts as well. Child psychology experts point out the advantages of co-parenting for a child include higher self-esteem and enhanced social skills when parents share in key responsibilities.

However, disputes can arise when one party falls short in the co-parenting arrangement. Fortunately, you have options for addressing the situation and a Chicago child custody lawyer can help.

How Co-Parenting Works in Illinois

After initiating a case to determine care for minor children, parents must file a parenting plan regarding the proposed arrangement within 120 days. The parenting plan may be prepared jointly or separately by the parties. It must include:

  1. Allocation of decision-making responsibilities, i.e., custody;
  2. The schedule for parenting time, i.e., visitation; and,
  3. Details regarding the child’s living arrangements.

When the parents share in their rights and responsibilities of raising the child, the arrangement is often termed co-parenting. They can set forth the terms of their agreement in a joint parenting agreement, which the judge will usually approve if it’s in accordance with the best interests of the child. Once the judge signs an order outlining the co-parenting arrangement, it has the force of law. The parties must comply with the requirements, including each of the three factors listed above. 

Indications and Examples of Failure to Co-Parent

In general, a parent fails to co-parent any time he/she violates the terms of the court’s order. You do have legal remedies to address the violations, which are described in more detail below. You might consider taking action if your ex:

  • Makes important decisions regarding the child without your input;
  • Interferes with the child’s living arrangements;
  • Fails to comply with the schedule regarding parenting time, such as by showing up late, not returning the child on time, or cancelling visitation; or,
  • Otherwise acts in contravention of the court’s order in the parenting plan. 

Your Legal Options for Co-Parenting Failures

When the co-parenting issues are continual or extreme, you can take legal action to enforce the judge’s order. You’ll need to file appropriate documents in court, drawing attention to the specific areas of the parenting plan and how your ex is violating them. The judge can force your ex to comply. There can be serious consequences for continued violations. In addition, you can request the court to adjust the parenting plan to better suit the child’s best interests. 

Schedule a Consultation with a Knowledgeable Chicago Child Custody Attorney

There are many advantages of raising your child through shared parenting, but it’s difficult to realize the benefits when one party fails to co-parent. For more information on your legal options and strategies to get the arrangement back on track, please contact Michael C. Craven by calling (312) 621-5234 or visiting our website. We can provide personalized details after conducting a confidential consultation at our Chicago office.