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Illinois Parenting Agreements

Naperville Divorce Attorney

DuPage County parenting agreement lawyerOn January 1st, 2016, several significant changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act went into effect. These changes revised a variety of topics included in the law, such as the terms we use to discuss parents' time with and responsibilities for their children, how property is divided in a divorce, and the removal of "fault" divorces as an option for Illinois couples.

Some of the most significant changes to the law are the changes to how parenting agreements are handled in Illinois. Previously, divorced parents were granted custody agreements. Parents could have joint custody of their child, meaning that they both had custody over him or her, or one parent could have sole custody while the other had visitation with the child. Custody was broken into two categories: legal, which referred to the right to make decisions on the child's behalf about issues such as education and healthcare; and physical, which referred to the household where the child lived. The court could award parents any combination of these, such as joint legal custody but sole physical custody, one parent having sole legal and physical custody, or parents jointly holding both types of custody.

The revisions to the law allow courts to create much more flexible parenting agreements. Discuss these revisions with an experienced family attorney to gain a full understanding of what they mean for you and your family.

What Is an Illinois Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan is a court order that states each parent's share of parenting time and responsibilities for the child. Parents can work together to develop this agreement on their own and submit it for court approval or the agreement can be developed by the court with information gathered from an investigation of the family's dynamics by a professional such as a Guardian Ad Litem or custody evaluator.

Why Do you Need a Parenting Plan?

Children are typically the healthiest when they have regular contact with both of their parents. Having a parenting plan in place after you are divorced ensures that your child spends an appropriate amount of time with you and with your former partner. This agreement provides a framework for your child's contact with you both. If either parent violates the parenting plan, the other has the right to report the violation to the court and have the agreement reevaluated and potentially modified.

How Does a Parenting Plan Work in Illinois?

Illinois parenting agreements look a lot different than they once did. Instead of custody and visitation, parents are given parenting time and parental responsibilities.

Parenting time refers to the in-person time that the child spends with each parent. This replaced the notion of physical custody, which set up a schedule for the child to follow on a weekly or monthly basis. The factors used to determine an appropriate parenting time agreement are largely the same factors as those used to determine a physical custody or visitation agreement prior to the law change, such as the following:

  • The child's relationship with each parent;
  • The resources each parent can provide for the child's physical, emotional, and academic development;
  • The child's personal needs;
  • Each parent's health; and
  • If there are circumstances present in either household that could potentially harm the child.

Parental responsibilities refer to the roles that each parent is granted for the care of the child. These roles can include the following:

  • Making decisions regarding the child's medical care;
  • Determining whether the child will be raised within a specific religion and, if so, if he or she will attend a religious school;
  • Other issues related to education, such as the decision to home school the child or the decision to have the child attend a private, charter, or magnet school; and
  • Determining the child's participation in extracurricular and cultural activities.

Contact an Experienced DuPage County Family Law Firm

If you are a parent considering filing for divorce or you have recently begun the divorce process, work with a member of our team of experienced DuPage County divorce lawyers to ensure that your best interests as well as those of your child are represented in court. At Pesce Law Group, P.C., we can provide you with the compassionate, driven legal guidance you need as you work through the divorce process. Schedule your initial legal consultation with our firm today to begin working with our firm. We proudly advocate for Illinois parents and families and will work hard to help your case reach a favorable resolution.

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