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How to Maximize the Benefits of Your Illinois Parenting Agreement

Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce parenting plan attorneyBeing a parent is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Cooperatively raising a child with an ex-spouse or former partner can be even harder. If you are a divorcing or unmarried parent who plans on sharing parental responsibility with your ex, you probably have many concerns about how a joint custody arrangement will work out. Effective co-parenting takes patience, perseverance, and planning. One of the best ways to prevent disagreements and problems in a co-parenting scenario is to have a solid strategy for how you plan to share parental responsibilities and parenting time.

Illinois Requires Parents to Create a Parenting Plan

If you are getting divorced in Illinois and wish to share parenting time with your spouse, you are required to submit a parenting plan to the court. Ideally, you and your spouse can agree to a plan, but if you cannot agree, the court will intervene and decide what should be included in the official parenting agreement. This plan will assign important decision-making responsibilities (formerly called child custody) and parenting time (formerly called visitation) to each parent. Additionally, the parenting plan must contain provisions which address:

  • The child’s official residential address

  • Each parent’s address, phone number, and employment address

  • Transportation arrangements

  • How the child will communicate with the other parent during each parent’s assigned parenting time

  • Each parent’s right to review the child’s school reports, extracurricular activity schedules and reports, and medical records

  •  A plan for what will happen if a parent wishes to modify decision-making responsibilities or parenting time

  • Expectations regarding any future parental relocations

  • The requirement for each parent to notify the other of important child-related concerns, emergencies, or travel plans

  • The parents’ “right of first refusal,” which may apply in situations where one parent is unable to care for the children during their scheduled parenting time

Illinois law requires parents to address each of these child-related concerns in their parenting agreement, but parents are free to include additional terms, rules, or other relevant information. Only the provisions required by law are legally enforceable, but parents are encouraged to include all necessary information in their parenting agreement about how they plan to share custody of their child.

Using Your Parenting Plan to Create a Solid Co-Parenting Foundation

There are many important issues which are not required in an Illinois parenting plan. For example, how will you handle introducing the child to either parent’s new boyfriend or girlfriend? Do you wish to impose any rules regarding your child’s cellphone use, videogames, or screen time? Do you want your child to participate in certain extracurricular activities, church or religious programs, or cultural events? An effective post-divorce co-parenting relationship starts with a solid foundation for what each parent’s expectations and responsibilities are. Addressing these types of questions when you sit down with your spouse to create a parenting agreement can help you avoid disagreements and confusion in the future.

Contact a Wheaton Parenting Plan Attorney

For help with divorce, child custody concerns, and more, contact a DuPage County divorce lawyer at The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. today. We can help you create a parenting plan that meets your needs, and we work with you to help ensure that your children’s best interests are protected. Call our office at 630-462-9500 to schedule your confidential consultation today.




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