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What are the important elements of a parenting plan?

Assigning parenting time through a parenting plan is standard procedure for most divorce cases. It is a legal document that establishes obligations and rights for both parents regarding their children. An attorney can draft a parenting plan when both parents agree on parental res ponsibilities. Once a judge submits the plan, it becomes a court order that both parents must adhere to.

Is there a one-size-fits-all parenting plan?

While parenting plans contain similarities, there is not a strict guideline that applies to every single one. Each family and divorce is unique. A good parenting plan takes into account all of the family's needs, particularly the children's best interests.

Does Illinois have specific requirements?

Rules regarding parenting plans vary by state, and Illinois requires that certain elements be included:

  • A schedule determining details of parenting time
  • A section determining which parent will be responsible for making decisions on education, religious upbringing, medical treatment and day care
  • A paragraph determining the child's home address for enrolling in school
  • The addresses and phone numbers of both parents' places of employment
  • Provisions establishing transportation arrangements while exchanging children
  • Provisions setting forth how to make modifications to the parenting plan in the future

Parents are required to file a parenting plan within 120 days following the court case assigning parental responsibilities. The parenting plan can be filed in agreement or each parent can file separate plans.

The best interests of your children are most important

  • Whether a plan is approved or ordered by the court, it will focus on the children's best interests. Here is what the court considers:
  • Children adjusting to different circumstances in home life and education
  • The physical and mental health of everyone involved
  • The willingness of both parents to encourage a loving relationship between the child and the other parent
  • Considering these factors when creating your plan will assist you in prioritizing certain provisions.

Figuring out the details of divorce and parenting time can be time- consuming and frustrating at first, but keeping the focus on your children's best interest will help you make it through the process. Developing a healthy and mutually beneficial parenting plan is possible. If you need assistance in drafting your parenting plan, consider seeking legal representation. An experienced family law attorney can help you develop an agreement to file with the court. Figuring out the gritty details is worth it for the stability of everyone involved, especially the children.

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