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Divorcing in Illinois? Make Sure You Understand the Parenting Plan Requirements

 Posted on September 22, 2021 in Child Custody

IL divorce lawyerEnding a marriage can be a complex process emotionally, legally, and financially. This is especially true when parents divorce. If you share children with your soon-to-be-ex, it is important to educate yourself about the way Illinois handles child custody. The state revamped several major divorce and child custody laws in 2016. Now, parents are asked to create a parenting plan that describes each parent’s parental responsibilities and parenting time.

Child Custody Laws in Illinois

When parents file for divorce, they are asked to create a “parenting plan” or parenting agreement that describes child custody issues. While the terms “child custody” and “visitation” are still sometimes used informally, the law no longer uses these terms. Instead, child custody is broken down into two major components:

  • Parental responsibilities –The parents will determine who has authority to make decisions about their child’s education, extracurricular activities, medical care, and religion.
  • Parenting time – The time that each parent spends taking care of the child.

What Must Be Included in the Parenting Plan

There are 15 specific requirements for Illinois parenting plans. The parents must decide how major decisions about the child will be made. Sometimes, one parent takes charge of all major decision-making. Other times, parents share these responsibilities. Parents must also include either a parenting time schedule or a detailed method for allocating parenting time – including parenting time during holidays, school breaks, and other special circumstances. The parenting time schedule or method must be detailed enough to be enforceable in any future legal proceeding. The parents are also asked to include information about how the child will be transported between homes and what should happen if a parent wishes to modify parental responsibilities or parenting time in the future.

What if Parents Disagree About the Terms of the Parenting Plan?

Divorcing parents may disagree about parenting time schedules, parental responsibilities, and other components of the parenting plan. In this case, the parents can each submit their own proposed parenting plan to the court. The court usually requires parents to attend family law mediation if they cannot reach an agreement about parenting issues. If the parents are unable to reach an agreement through mediation, lawyer-assisted negotiations, or other means, the court may decide for the parents.

Contact a Naperville Divorce Lawyer

If you are a parent getting divorced in Illinois, contact the DuPage County divorce attorneys at Pesce Law Group, P.C.. Our team understands that child custody issues can be difficult to navigate on your own. Let us help. Call 630-352-2240 for a free, confidential initial consultation.



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