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Posted on in Divorce

Naperville Divorce Lawyers

Divorce settlements require careful consideration of many aspects of everyday life. If a couple has children, the divorce process has even more elements to work out, such as the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, formerly known for legal purposes in Illinois as child custody and visitation, respectively. 

Parental responsibility and parenting time are top priorities when negotiating a divorce decree. One related aspect is sibling and step-sibling visitation with other children in the family. If divorced parents have multiple children and custody is split between them, the siblings may wish to see one another, but a parent may try to deny visitation. Siblings can petition the court to grant them visitation when a parent denies it. 

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Naperville child custody lawyer parenting planWhen you get a divorce in Illinois, and you have children, you are strongly encouraged to come to an agreement with your spouse about how parental responsibilities and parenting time will be divided between you. The court does not decide these things for you unless you and your spouse cannot come to a mutual agreement (known as a parenting plan), but leaving the decision up to a judge is not always in your family’s best interests. Often, the court will order mediation to assist you and your spouse in coming to an agreement about a parenting plan, which must be filed with the court no longer than 120 days after a petition for the allocation of parental responsibilities is filed. Creating a parenting plan can be tedious, but having all of the right elements in your plan will ensure success when implementing it following the finalization of your divorce.

Court-Required Parenting Plan Elements

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, there are certain things that must be addressed in a parenting plan. The plan can contain other information pertaining to the care of the children, but it must at least address the following issues:

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DuPage County divorce attorney parenting planWhen parents decide to end their marriage, they must resolve a number of issues related to their children in order to complete their divorce. The decisions they make will be set down in a parenting plan that will be incorporated into their divorce decree. In Illinois divorce cases, a parenting plan should include:

  • Allocation of parental responsibilities - Illinois law identifies four areas of decision-making responsibility for children: education, healthcare, religion, and extracurricular activities. A parenting plan will specify whether each of these areas will be shared between parents or allocated to one parent.
  • Parenting time - A parenting plan should contain a specific daily schedule for the time children will spend with each parent. It should also specify how holidays will be divided between parents, along with provisions for how parents will divide vacation time during the summer, winter, and spring breaks from school.
  • Transportation - Parents should determine who will be responsible for transporting children between their homes, to school, or to other activities and include these agreements in the parenting plan.
  • Communication - A parenting plan may include provisions defining when a parent may contact their children during the other parent’s parenting time.
  • Right of first refusal - Parents may wish to agree that if one parent will not be available to care for children during their scheduled parenting time, they must contact the other parent and give them the option of caring for the children before making other arrangements for child care.
  • Contact information - The parenting plan must include both parents’ home addresses and phone numbers, as well as the names, addresses, and phone numbers of their employers. The parenting plan should specify children’s residential address for purposes of school registration, and it should require parents to notify each other about emergencies, health issues, and travel plans.
  • Relocation - A parenting plan should include a requirement that a parent will notify the other parent at least 60 days before moving to a new home.
  • Future modifications - A parenting plan should specify that parents will use mediation to resolve proposed changes to the allocation of parenting time or parental responsibility. The plan may also include provisions for how modifications will be made if certain events occur.
  • Other provisions - A parenting plan can include any other decisions made between parents to protect children’s best interests or encourage parents’ cooperation in raising their children. For instance, it may state that parents are prohibited from drinking alcohol or using drugs during their parenting time.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

Illinois law requires parents to submit a parenting plan (either together or separately) within 120 days of filing a petition for the allocation of parental responsibilities. If you need help reaching an agreement on any parenting issues during your divorce, the attorneys of Anderson & Associates, P.C. can work with you and your spouse to resolve outstanding issues and create a parenting plan that protects your rights and meets your children’s needs. Contact a Wheaton divorce lawyer today by calling 630-653-9400 to arrange a free consultation.

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Wheaton divorce lawyer, divorce mistakes, divorce process, parenting time, allocation of parental responsibilityWhen spouses decide to end their marriage through divorce, they are likely ready to leave a difficult relationship and move on to the next phase of their lives. However, couples with children will need to resolve a variety of issues, including the allocation of parental responsibility and parenting time, and disagreements over these matters can often result in contentious legal battles.

The decisions made during divorce will have a major impact on your and your children’s lives for years to come. Therefore, it is important to protect yourself during this time.

Consider the following mistakes you should be sure to avoid while resolving issues related to children in your divorce:

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DuPage County divorce attorneys, fathers and divorce, divorce process, allocation of parental responsibility, parenting timeWhen parents decide to end their marriage by getting a divorce, decisions about the allocation of parental responsibility and parenting time can often become contentious. In the past, it was often expected that the mother would retain primary custody of a couple’s children after divorce, but this is no longer the case.

In today’s culture, fathers often take a much more active role in parenting children and enjoy equal or even primary custody of their children after divorce. By taking the following steps, fathers can improve their chances of positive results in divorce disputes involving children:

  1. Be an involved parent - Take an active role in your kids’ lives, attending school activities and sports events, doctor’s appointments, and parent/teacher conferences, as well as spending quality time with them during your parenting time.

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