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Divorcing Parents Must Submit a Parenting Plan to the Court

 Posted on September 13, 2018 in Child Custody

DuPage County child custody lawyerIn 2016, sweeping reforms were made to the family law statutes in the state of Illinois. One of the most notable changes was the elimination of the old idea of child custody and the introduction of a new way of thinking. This new approach is called the “allocation of parental responsibilities,” and it focuses in a positive way on how each parent will contribute to raising their children in the wake of a divorce or breakup.

Understanding Parenting Plans

Today, parents who are involved in a divorce—or, in fact, any proceedings that address the allocation of parental responsibilities—are expected by law to create a written parenting plan proposal. This expectation is set forth in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). The IMDMA recognizes that an agreement between the parents is almost always preferable to litigation in the courtroom, so parents are statutorily encouraged to develop a workable agreement if at all possible. The parenting plan agreement must address a number of required concerns, including but not limited to:

  • Each parent’s authority for making significant decisions about the child’s upbringing;
  • How much parenting time each parent will have and when;
  • The child’s primary address for school registration and similar purposes;
  • Each parent’s rights and access to health records, school records, and other documents regarding the child;
  • The process through which the parenting plan may be amended;
  • How parental moves or relocations are to be handled; and
  • The right of first refusal of additional parenting time.

Presenting the Plan

Each parent has 120 days from the notice of filing to submit a proposed parenting plan to the court. Upon a showing of good cause, the deadline may be extended. Each parent may create and file their own plan, or the parents can work together on a single proposal. If the two separate plans are dramatically different and the parents cannot reach an agreement, the court may order the parents to participate in mediation to come up with a reasonable compromise. If mediation is unsuccessful, or if both parents refuse to file a proposal, the court will create a parenting plan for them.

When a parenting plan is submitted to the court, the court will review it to make sure that it protects the child’s best interests. The plan must also consider the parental rights of each parent. Assuming the court does not find any serious problems with the plan, it will be approved and entered as a legally-enforceable order.

Protecting Your Rights

If you are involved in a dispute over the allocation of parental responsibilities, an experienced DuPage County family law attorney can help you. Call 630-352-2240 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of the team at Pesce Law Group, P.C. today.



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