Under Illinois law, a parenting plan is a written agreement that sets forth how parents will make decisions related to their children and how they will divide parenting time. Having a workable parenting plan is a critical component to the welfare of your family.
Parenting Plan Terms
Typical terms of parenting plans include:
- Who will be the primary residential parent;
- The child’s schedule with each parent;
- Holiday schedules;
- Which parent has decision-making responsibility as to the child’s education, religious activities and medical issues;
- How expenses will be shared for items like daycare, medical expenses, and extra-curricular activities;
- College savings expectations;
- Prohibitions of or conditions on relocation;
- Modes of contact between the parents to resolve future issues or disputes;
- How each parent can obtain records and information regarding the child; and
- How the child is to be transported between parents.
Considerations When Drafting a Plan
A well-written plan will be practical and feasible. It will be flexible enough to allow for unforeseen circumstances that arise yet specific enough that both parents will be held to the plan. If a parent does not follow the plan, the case can be reviewed by the court and adjustments will be ordered.
Unless there is an extenuating circumstance that arises, a parenting plan cannot be modified for two years. Thus, it is important to include all terms that may be needed.
Filing Parenting Plans
Both parents must file a plan within 120 days of requesting parental responsibilities. If the parents can agree on a parenting plan, the document should be submitted to the court within that 120 day period. Courts typically will adopt a parenting plan agreed to by both sides.
If the parents do not agree, the court will use the proposed plan in determining custody (which is called “parenting responsibilities” under Illinois law). Parenting responsibilities will be allocated after a hearing where the parents, family, and other witnesses will testify. The judge will make his or her ruling based on what would be in the best interests of the child.
Contact a Glen Ellyn, IL Child Custody Lawyer
The experienced DuPage County child custody attorneys at Mulyk, Laho & Mack, LLC can be a great resource for a parent looking to create a functional parenting plan. Our firm has helped many families create parenting plans that make life easier and reduce conflict. We can provide alternatives that you may have overlooked and can negotiate terms with the other parent to eliminate the need for a judge to make a ruling. Contact our firm at (630) 852-1100 today.