Whether you are divorced or unmarried, raising a child with an ex can be challenging. Understandably, parents want what is best for their children. When two parents disagree about what is in a child’s best interests, the situation can quickly escalate. Building a parenting plan is the best way to ensure that you and your child’s other parent are on the same page. Parenting plans are also required for parents getting divorced in Illinois.
Required Elements for Illinois Parenting Agreements
Parents who file for divorce in Illinois are asked to submit a parenting plan to the court. If the parents cannot agree on the terms of the parenting plan, the court will have them each submit their own plan separately. Often, parents who disagree about child custody issues are required to attend family law mediation to discuss the issues and work out an agreement. If mediation fails, the case may advance to litigation.
The two main factors in an Illinois parenting plan are:
Parenting time – Parents will need to decide which parent the child will live with and when. Illinois law requires parents to either build a parenting time schedule or a method for determining parenting time that is detailed enough to be enforced by the court. You may decide to split parenting time in whatever way works for you and your particular situation. Keep in mind, however, that parenting time can influence other issues like child support.
Parental responsibilities – The allocation of parental responsibilities refers to decision-making authority. Parents will need to decide who will make decisions about their child’s medical care, education, extracurricular activities, and religious upbringing. Some parents assign all of the decision-making authority to one parent. Others divide parental responsibilities between the parents. Again, it is up to you.
Going Above the Bare Minimum
Many elements of your parenting plan are required. However, there is nothing stopping you from including additional provisions in your parenting plan. If you can, take time to sit down with the other parent and discuss how you plan to raise the child as co-parents. Will you limit your child’s screen time or institute other rules? Will your child have an allowance? When is bedtime or curfew? Experts explain that consistency is very important to children going through a divorce. The more you and the other parent can agree on, the better.
Contact a DuPage County Child Custody Lawyer
The skilled Naperville divorce attorneys at Goostree Law Group understand that divorce involving children involves unique challenges. We can help you negotiate the terms of your parenting plan, establish or modify child support, and address any other family law concerns you have during your divorce. Call us at 630-364-4046 for a free consultation.