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DuPage County family law attorneysWhen it becomes evident that you are headed for divorce, it is important to start planning for the process. You will need to have a good understanding of your current financial situation and what constitutes your ideal post-divorce scenario. Depending upon the circumstances of your relationship with your spouse, you may be able to begin negotiating the terms of your divorce agreement. At first, of course, such discussions would need to be relatively informal, but you and your spouse can at least start talking about the future. The conversation is even more important if you have a child or children together, so that you can both better understand the role you are to play in your child’s upbringing.

Determine a Primary Residence

Among your first child-related concerns should be which parent will assume responsibility for a majority of the parenting time. This is an important consideration in determining where the child will attend school. The parent who does not have the majority of the parenting time will most likely be responsible for paying child support. Just because one of you has less parenting time than the other is not considered to be a reflection on your parental rights; rather it is more of a logistical determination.

Significant Decision-Making

You and your spouse will also need to discuss how you will make significant decisions regarding your child’s life. You may agree to cooperate and make each decision together, or you may determine that each of you should have separate but complementary responsibilities for decisions about your child’s education, medical care, or religious training. You and your spouse may have particular areas of strength or strong feelings about a specific area of your child’s life that make one of you better equipped to handle related decisions.

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Naperville Divorce Lawyer

In creating a divorce agreement, all parental decisions are based upon the parenting plan established through negotiation, mediation, or by a judge. A parenting plan is a document which determines the specifics of parental responsibility. Regardless of its origination, once a divorce decree is approved, its provisions become legally enforceable. 

This legal document protects your parenting rights in the present and in the future, should your ex-spouse choose not to cooperate at any point. Additionally, the plan establishes distinct guidelines to prevent disputes. When in doubt, you are always able to refer to the plan.

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Posted on in Child Custody

DuPage County family law attorneysThe Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) was modified extensively in 2016, and one of the major modifications was to establish the requirement for divorcing couples to have a parenting plan. Such a plan can be drafted cooperatively by the couple on their own or with the assistance of the court. The rationale is that if issues arise, the parenting plan worked out by both spouses may provide guidance in all but the most unusual situations.

Helping Parents to Share Responsibilities

A parenting plan is defined in the relevant statute as a written agreement that grants either “significant decision-making responsibilities,” parenting time, or both. A plan is required when both spouses will share parental responsibilities. If only one parent will have decision-making capabilities regarding the child, there is no need to seek the other parent’s input. To have one parent exclusively make all decisions for the child, however, is relatively uncommon rare; usually parents will share joint custody to at least some degree.

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