If you are a parent who is planning to divorce in Illinois, you may already be thinking about how you and your spouse will share child-related responsibilities. As part of the divorce process, you will be asked to describe the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time in your “parenting plan” and submit this plan to the court. If the court approves of the plan, the plan becomes a part of the legally enforceable divorce decree. Illinois law lists the issues that must be addressed in a parenting plan, but these are only the minimum requirements. You and your child’s other parent have the option of including additional agreements in the plan as well.
Planning in Advance to Prevent Future Conflict
Most parents have different beliefs, ideas, and strategies when it comes to raising their children. These differences can develop into arguments and legal disputes after divorce. One of the best ways to prevent conflict regarding child custody issues is to create a detailed parenting plan describing each parent’s responsibilities and expectations. The more you agree upon during the creation of the parenting plan, the fewer issues you will need to sort out in the future.
Concerns Many Parents Overlook
There are over a dozen topics you must address in your parenting plan according to Illinois law. You will need to address how significant decisions about the child’s upbringing will be handled, parenting time (visitation) schedules, future proposed parental relocations, transportation arrangements, and much more. It may also be a good idea to include provisions in your parenting plan that are above and beyond the provisions required by law. For example, you may want to include agreements about:
Household rules, bedtimes, or homework procedures
The child’s exposure to cigarette smoke, alcohol, or drugs
Diet or nutritional concerns such as food allergies or weight concerns
How and when parents will introduce the child to a new significant other
How disciplining will be handled and when a parent is expected to inform the other of behavioral issues
You can design your parenting plan to reflect your family’s particular values and priorities. However, it is important to remember that the court has the final authority about what provisions are included in the final parenting plan. Illinois courts always make child-related determinations based on what the court believes is in the child’s best interests.
Contact an Arlington Heights, IL Child Custody Lawyer
If you are a parent who is planning to divorce, contact A. Traub & Associates for trustworthy legal guidance regarding parenting plans, child support, property division, and much more. Call our office today at 847-749-4182 to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our talented Arlington Heights, IL family law attorneys.