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High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213
Hillside, IL 60162

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How Is a Parenting Agreement Created in an Illinois Divorce?

Oak Park, IL parenting time lawyer

If you are going through a divorce, you will need to make a variety of difficult decisions involving the separation of your life, your finances, and your property from your spouse. While this can be a lot to deal with, the situation can become even more complicated if you and your spouse have children, because both of you will need to address the allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly known as child custody in Illinois), as well as parenting time (formerly known as visitation), and the decisions about these issues will be written down in an agreement known as a parenting plan, which will be part of your divorce decree. When creating a parenting plan, it is important to work with an experienced family law attorney to ensure that your parental rights and your child’s best interests are protected.

Creating a Parenting Plan

A parenting plan is a legal document that addresses the responsibilities that each parent will have during a child’s upbringing. These responsibilities include making decisions regarding the child’s education, religion, healthcare, and extracurricular activities, and the authority to make decisions in each of these areas may be shared by the parents, or allocated to one parent. Furthermore, a parenting plan will specify where the child will live, the schedule of each parent’s parenting time, and the rules regarding transportation. It may also include the right of first refusal to ensure that a parent will be able to care for their child if the other parent is unavailable during his or her scheduled parenting time.

If spouses can work together and reach an amicable agreement about their child’s upbringing, the court will likely approve their parenting plan, as long as it is in the child’s best interests. If spouses cannot reach agreement on one or more issues, mediation is a popular method of dispute resolution that parents may want to use to reach an agreement. During the mediation process, a neutral, third-party mediator will assist the parents in addressing any issues which need to be resolved in their parenting plan, helping them to try and reach a compromise that will allow them to continue to work together as co-parents following the completion of their divorce.

If Parents Cannot Reach an Agreement

When divorcing or unmarried parents cannot agree on the terms of their parenting plan, even after trying mediation, the court will then hold a hearing to determine how parental responsibilities and parenting time should be allocated. A judge will determine a plan that protects the child’s best interests while attempting to maximize the child’s relationship with and access to both parents. When establishing parenting time and parental responsibilities, the judge will consider a variety of factors, including each parent’s desires, their available time for parental duties, any applicable financial restraints, and the living arrangements in each parent’s home.

In any court proceeding which involves parenting time, and/or the allocation of parental responsibilities, or decisions regarding the general welfare of a minor, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL). This person will investigate the facts of the case, interview the parents and children, and make recommendations to the court as to what would be in the child’s best interests.

Contact a Hillside, IL Child Custody Lawyer

Going through a divorce is never easy, especially if a child is involved. As you work to complete your divorce, it is important to remember to put your child’s best interests first. When addressing the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, you should work with a skilled Oak Park parenting plan attorney. To schedule a free consultation at the Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C., contact our office today at 708-449-7404. 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050K602.10.htm

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=075000050K506

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