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Understanding the Fundamentals of an Illinois Parenting Plan

St. Charles family law attorneysParenting children under the same roof can be challenging in and of itself, but parenting them from separate homes almost always requires an even greater amount of effort. Yet, studies have consistently shown that children usually fare best in a divorce if they have the continued support of both parents. Illinois’ family laws encourage parents to work together in meeting the mental, emotional, and financial needs of their kids during and after their divorce. Most often, this goal is met through the drafting of a parenting plan, which contains two major components: the allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly known as child custody) and parenting time (previously referred to as visitation). 

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities 

Throughout the course of a normal day, parents make multiple decisions about their children’s lives and future. While most decisions are relatively minor and require no prior “clearance” or approval from the other parent, there are certain aspects of their kids’ well-being that are considered “protected.” Examples include choices regarding education and religion. Parents also have certain legal obligations to their children, such as ensuring that the children’s medical needs are met. These issues are covered under the allocation of parental responsibilities. 

Under the Illinois Marriage and Marriage Dissolution Act (IMDMA), the law seeks to ease the often difficult transition related to the division of parental rights and responsibilities, including the decision-making authority between the parents in addition to where the children will live. In handling these sections of their parenting plan, some divorcing parents may reach an agreement easily. However, they must also figure out how disagreements will be handled, should they arise in the future. 

Although equal allocation is common, it may not be appropriate for every family. If you have any concerns about your spouse’s ability to handle or make decisions about certain aspects of your children’s lives, it is essential that you discuss the matter with a qualified divorce and family law attorney. 

Parenting Time

Divorce can impede healthy child development, especially if the parents are combative or vengeful toward one another. In fact, the only thing worse is when one parent attempts to poison the children against their other parent—a phenomenon known as “parental alienation.” While it may be difficult to give up time with your kids, studies show that children are less likely to suffer maladjustment issues when they have ample time with each parent. With this in mind, parents are highly encouraged to work toward equal parenting time, whenever possible. 

In some situations, parents can work together to come up with a schedule for designated parenting time. In the majority of cases, the court will approve it, as long as it is in the children’s best interests. If the parents cannot reach an agreement or if a judge determines the proposed plan is not appropriate, the court could ultimately decide how parenting time should be divided. This decision will be based on a number of factors, such as the parents’ and the children’s wishes, the physical and mental health of each parent, plus the willingness of both parents to compromise. 

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Attorney 

When drafting your Illinois parenting plan, you should have knowledgeable legal representation on your side, even if you and your spouse plan to work toward an amicable resolution. It is important that your rights, in addition to your child’s rights and best interests, are protected. The experienced legal team at Weiler & Lengle P.C. is well-versed in Illinois divorce laws. Our seasoned Kane County parenting plan lawyers can help you create a plan that considers important issues, such as parenting time. Call our office today at 630-382-8050 to schedule a personalized, no-obligation consultation. 

 

Source: 

https://courts.illinois.gov/Forms/approved/divorce/Divorce_with_Children_Instructions2.pdf

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