If you are planning to divorce and you share children with your spouse, you will be required to create a “ parenting agreement” or parenting plan as part of your divorce. The parenting agreement will include key information about how you and your child’s other parent plan to share parental responsibilities and make important decisions about your children. Many divorcing spouses disagree regarding the terms of their parenting agreement. In these cases, mediation and assistance from an experienced family law attorney can be valuable resources.
Defining Each Parent’s Rights and Responsibilities
The parenting agreement is not simply another piece of divorce paperwork. This agreement will act as the main authority regarding each parent’s child-related responsibilities, expectations, and rights after the divorce. Illinois law identifies the elements that must be addressed in the parenting plan. These elements include:
- How the parents will make significant decisions about the children
- Each parent's parenting time (formerly called visitation)
- Transportation arrangements
- Each parent’s responsibility to notify the other of child-related emergencies, medical care, travel plans, or other significant matters
- Each parent's right to access children’s school reports, extracurricular reports, medical records, and child care records
- Directions for mediation if a parent wants to reallocate parenting time or parental responsibilities
- Information about any future modifications of the parenting plan
- Requirements regarding any future parental relocations or disputes about potential relocations
- Directions regarding parent communication with the child during the other parent's parenting time
- Each parent’s “right of first refusal” meaning each parent’s right to gain extra parenting time when the other parent cannot fulfill his or her parenting time obligation
- The children's residential address for the purpose of school enrollment
- Each parent's residential address, contact information, place of employment, and employment contact information and
- Any other provision that addresses the children’s needs or that will help facilitate cooperative co-parenting
At a minimum, parents are required to adequately address the mandatory elements in their parenting plan. However, it may also be a good idea for parents to include additional information about how they plan to co-parent after their divorce. Voluntary elements in a parenting plan may not be legally enforceable, but this information can go a long way in helping parents avoid child-related disputes in the future.
Contact a Kane County Child Custody Lawyer
Understandably, divorcing parents may not always agree regarding child-related issues. If you are planning to divorce and you and your spouse are struggling to reach an arrangement about child custody or other child-related issues, Shaw Family Law is here to help. We have helped countless divorcing parents resolve divorce-related issues and protect the best interests of their children. Schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your needs with an experienced Illinois family law attorney from our firm by calling us at 630-584-5550 today.