During the divorce process, spouses will need to address and resolve a wide variety of legal issues. If a couple has children together, the matter of child custody will be one of their primary concerns, and they will need to create a parenting plan that will define their rights and obligations toward their children while detailing how they will share custody. As parents work to reach agreements about how these matters will be handled, they can ensure that their parenting plan includes all of the necessary information that will allow them to meet their obligations and provide for their children’s needs after their divorce has been finalized.
Parenting Plans, Parenting Time, and Parental Responsibilities
A parenting plan, which may also be known as a parenting agreement, is a legal document that is part of a couple’s divorce decree or judgment. This agreement will fully define both parents’ rights and responsibilities, while also serving as a set of rules that the parents will be required to follow going forward. A parenting plan will address:
- Allocation of parental responsibilities – Parents may divide or share decision-making authority over different areas of their children’s lives. There are four areas of responsibility that may be addressed: education, medical care, religion, and extracurricular activities. Parents may share some or all of these responsibilities equally, or one parent may be solely or primarily responsible for making decisions in one or more of these different areas.
- Parenting time – A schedule will be created that will detail when children will spend time in the care of each parent on regular weekdays and weekends, including the days and times that children will be picked up or dropped off by a parent. Other special days should also be addressed, including major holidays; vacations from school during the spring, summer, and winter; and birthdays of children, parents, or other family members. The parenting plan should also detail the priority that will be followed when there are conflicts involving holidays or other special days.
- Transportation and exchange of children – Clear rules should be provided regarding which parent will provide transportation between parents’ homes and the procedures that will be followed when picking up or dropping off children.
- Right of first refusal – Parents may choose to include terms stating that if one parent will be unavailable to take care of the children when they are scheduled to have parenting time, they will contact the other parent and offer them the opportunity to care for children before making other child care arrangements.
- Other rules – A parenting plan can address any other relevant issues, such as what types of discipline are and are not allowed or when children will communicate with one parent during the other parent’s parenting time. Parents may also specify how future conflicts or requests to modify the parenting plan will be handled, such as by stating that they will use mediation to resolve disputes.
Contact Our Barrington Parenting Plan Lawyers
As you work to resolve issues related to your children during your divorce, you will want to have an experienced lawyer on your side who can protect your rights and advocate for your children’s best interests. At Joseph M. Lucas & Associates, LLC, we will make sure you understand the best ways to address these concerns, and we will provide you with dedicated legal representation both inside and outside the courtroom. Contact our Barrington, IL child custody attorneys at 847-381-8700 to arrange a consultation.