Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C.
High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213, Hillside, IL 60162
High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213
Hillside, IL 60162



What Are the Requirements for a Parenting Plan in an Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on December 19, 2022 in Family Law

Oak Park Child Custody LawyerWhen parents get divorced, some of the most important decisions are related to the creation of an effective parenting plan that provides for the best interests of the children, while also meeting the needs of both parents, plus fulfilling all the requirements of Illinois law. During the divorce process, it is important to work with a skilled family law attorney who can ensure that all  subjects regarding parental responsibilities and parenting time will be properly addressed in a parenting plan. 

What Is a Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan is a legal agreement between divorcing parents that will be part of their final divorce decree. The plan will outline the parents' respective rights and responsibilities regarding their parenting duties, and also their relationships with their children. A parenting plan should include provisions for decision-making authority, parenting time or visitation, holidays, vacations, transportation arrangements, communication between parents and children, and other subjects related to the child's welfare. 

Illinois Requirements for Parenting Plans

In Illinois, divorcing parents are required to submit a written parenting plan proposal in order for their divorce to be finalized. If parents can work together to reach agreements on child-related issues by using their attorneys, mediation, or other methods, they can submit a single parenting plan together, and the judge in their case will typically approve this plan, as long as it is in the children's best interests. Alternatively, each parent can submit his or her own parenting plan that details their proposals for how different issues should be addressed, and the parents may then ask the judge to make the final decisions about any areas that are in dispute.

The parenting plan must include certain information, including: 

  • Each parent’s address and phone number, as well as the addresses and phone numbers of their respective employers; 

  • Provisions for how decision-making authority (parental responsibilities) will be shared by parents;

  • Schedules for parenting time detailing the days and times when children will live with or spend time with parents during the school year, during school vacations, and on holidays, birthdays or other specified days; 

  • The address where children will primarily reside, which will be used for school registration purposes;

  • Provisions for communication between the parties, detailing when and how parents may discuss child-related issues; 

  • Rules for communication between a parent and children during the other parent's scheduled parenting time;

  • Details regarding transportation for children at different times, including decisions about whether either parent will drop off or pick up children at the other parent's home or whether parents will meet at other locations, as well as decisions about transportation related to school or activities; 

  • Details about each parent's right to access children's medical, dental, psychological, school and child care records;

  • Decisions detailing how parental responsibilities and/or parenting time may be modified in specific circumstances, including when either parent plans to relocate to a new home;

  • Provisions detailing how mediation may be used to address any other proposed future modifications to the parenting plan by either parent; and,

  • Any other terms that will address the best interests of the children, or help the parents cooperate to raise the children successfully.

A parenting plan may also include provisions for the “right of first refusal”. These provisions may state that a parent who will not be able to personally care for the children during their scheduled parenting time must contact the other parent to see if they are available before making other arrangements for child care. While the “right of first refusal” is not required in a parenting plan, it may be included if both parents agree on these terms.

Identifying Children's Best Interests 

It’s important to remember that when creating a parenting plan, the best interests of the children should always be the first priority. Factors such as safety, stability and health should take precedence over other considerations, such as convenience or the desires of either parent. It is also a good idea to consider children's ages and how matters may change as they get older. Decisions put in place at the time of a divorce may no longer be appropriate as children's needs change in the future, so parents should be prepared to make adjustments to ensure that they can continue to provide for their children's best interests.

Contact Our Oak Park Parenting Plan Attorney

Crafting an effective parenting plan that meets all legal requirements, while still taking into account the needs of the children and parents, can be difficult, but it is essential to ensure that parents will be able to continue to raise their children successfully after divorce proceedings are finalized. If you have questions about how to create a legally binding yet mutually beneficial parenting plan in an Illinois divorce case, the highly-experienced Hillside child custody lawyer at Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C. can provide the legal guidance you need. Contact us at 708-449-7404 to set up a free consultation today.



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