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DuPage County parenting plan attorneyIf you are getting divorced in Illinois, and you share children with your spouse, you will be required to create a parenting agreement or parenting plan. This agreement is a detailed description of how you and your spouse will share parenting duties after your divorce, and it will ultimately become a legally binding court order. The plan also contains important information about the parents’ rights and responsibilities. Forming a parenting plan that both parents agree to is often one of the most difficult aspects of a divorce involving children. If you are a parent who is getting divorced, reach out to a skilled child custody lawyer for help with your parenting plan.

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Parental responsibilities refer to what was once called “legal custody” in Illinois. Major decisions about the child’s life, including decisions related to school, extracurricular activities, healthcare, and religion, fall under the umbrella of parental responsibilities. A parenting plan will need to describe which parent is in charge of these decisions. One parent may take on some or all of the decision-making responsibilities, or the parents may share these responsibilities.

Parenting Time Schedules

The time that a parent is directly responsible for the child’s daily needs is called “parenting time.” Parents are free to divide parenting time in a way that works for their unique needs. For example, one parent may take the child on the weekends, while the other parent takes the child during the week. Per Illinois law, the parenting plan must contain either a detailed schedule of how parenting time is allotted between the parents or a method for determining parenting time that is detailed enough to be legally enforceable.  Parents will also need to address how they plan to share parenting time on holidays, school vacations, and in other atypical circumstances.

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Wheaton family law attorneyChild custody cases are often some of the most contentious family law disputes. When it comes to children, emotions typically run high. Parents may do or say nearly anything to get the child custody outcome they want. Sadly, it is often the children themselves that are most damaged in a combative child custody case. If your child’s other parent has accused you of abusing your child in an attempt to sway the outcome of your child custody dispute, it is crucial that you take steps now to protect your rights as well as the rights of your child.

Speak with a Lawyer Who is Experienced in Child Custody Disputes

Illinois courts always make child custody decisions based on what is in the child’s best interests. Being accused of child abuse or domestic violence can have a dramatic impact on your child custody case. If your child’s other parent has brought unfounded allegations of abuse against you, there are several things that you should do immediately. First, speak with a family law attorney who has experience handling situations like these.

Your lawyer will help you take the steps needed to fight the accusations and avoid worsening your situation. Your lawyer may recommend requesting a guardian ad litem (GAL) to be assigned to your case. A GAL is a specially trained attorney who investigates the facts of a child custody case and then makes a recommendation to the judge based on his or her findings. The GAL may interview you, your child, your child’s siblings, teachers, and other caretakers. The GAL may visit your home and the home of your child’s other parent and observe child-parent interactions. The court is not required to follow the GAL’s counsel but a recommendation from a GAL will carry considerable weight.

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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

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