Within 120 days of filing a petition for parental responsibilities, both parents must file a parenting plan with the court, either jointly or separately. A parenting plan will include information regarding such issues as who will be responsible for making decisions about their child’s education – one spouse or both? Parents must also indicate who will make important decisions about the child’s healthcare and religious upbringing. If both parents plan to be involved in making decisions regarding education, religion or healthcare, the parenting plan should be specific as to what those responsibilities are within each area. Access to health and educational records should be adjusted according to the plan.
As for parenting time (aka child custody), parents will provide answers to questions such as:
- Will one parent have all of the parenting time or will the child mostly live with one parent and visit the other every other weekend?
- Will the child have overnights with both parents?
- How will extended school breaks, holidays and special occasions such as birthdays be handled?
- What about transportation between parents, school or extracurricular activities?
- If there is an emergency or other issue that comes up, how will parents communicate with each other?
- What if one parent cannot be with the kids during their designated time, should the other parent be notified as possible an alternative before a sitter is called?
It is important to look at the big picture and then look at issues in more minute detail to come up with a plan that works for the parents and children alike. Because circumstances change over time, there should also be a procedure in place for altering a plan, perhaps through a mediator.
The importance of working through a parenting plan early cannot be overstated. Giving thoughtful consideration to parenting responsibility and parenting time can make the process less contentious for everyone involved and ensure that your kids’ best interests are realized. In the event parents cannot reach an agreement, the court will conduct a hearing or trial to determine a parenting plan, which will strive to maximize the time the child spends with both parents depending on the unique circumstances of your case.
Questions on Illinois Parenting Plans?
Contact Libertyville Illinois Child Custody and Visitation Attorney
Of course, working with an experienced Illinois child custody lawyer is advisable when creating a parenting plan. Your lawyer will help you think through the issues so that you can determine what is in the best interests of your family, helping you to avoid oversights that may cause problems later. If you are considering divorce and have questions regarding an Illinois parenting plan for child custody and visitation, contact the Libertyville, Illinois Law Offices of Ronald L. Bell & Associates for immediate assistance today at 847-495-6000.