Summer Vacation: Do You Know Your Children's Plans for Break?
Glen Ellyn Family Law Attorneys
Holidays and school breaks can get complicated if you and your ex-spouse do not have, or stick to, a parenting plan. New Illinois laws require that divorcing parents propose a “parenting plan” to the court,which addresses issues that may arise with respect to parenting time and responsibilities once the divorce is finalized. Understanding the requirements for submitting a parenting plan, what types of things the parenting plan will govern post-divorce, and how to draft a reasonable, but amicable, parenting plan requires the assistance of experienced Glen Ellyn, Illinois family law attorneys.
Parenting Plans in Illinois Courts
Part VI of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, Allocation of Parental Responsibilities, explains the requirements for submitting a parenting plan during divorces involving children. Unlike previous custody standards and guidelines, custody in Illinois has transitioned into a more specific allocation of decision-making responsibilities of each respective parent post-divorce.
Within 120 days of asking the court to allocate parental responsibilities, the parties must jointly or separately submit a proposed parenting plan to the court for consideration. Allocation of parenting responsibilities under this law involves more than physical custody of the child—it extends to allocation of “decision-making responsibilities.” Decision-making authority regarding the education, health, religion, and extracurricular activities is allocated between the parents to ensure that expectations regarding the future care of the child are clearly demarcated in order to serve the best interests of the child. While some couples divide these responsibilities, many choose to reserve joint responsibility for many of the important decisions they will face regarding their children in the future.
Allocation of Parenting Time
One aspect of the parenting plan that is particularly important involves the allocation of parenting time. Much like traditional notions of custody, parenting time dictates where the child will live and spend holidays. In making this determination, the court may consider the following:
- The wishes of the parents;
- The wishes of the child;
- The maturity and needs of the child;
- The previous involvement of the parents in the child’s life;
- The previous responsibilities allocated between the parties;
- The mental and physical health of all involved parties;
- The distance between the parents’ residences and school;
- The daily schedule of all parties involved;
- Unique needs of the child;
- The willingness of the parties to cooperate in the future;
- Any history of abuse;
- The parents’ criminal histories and
- “Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be relevant.”
This portion of the parenting agreement dictates where the child will live during the week, weekends, holidays, and long breaks such as summer, spring, and winter. The more detail that you and your spouse put into a parenting plan, the less likelihood there is of conflict down the road.
There are two components to a successful parenting plan. The first is to draft a reasonable parenting plan that the court is likely to approve with minimal changes, allowing the parents autonomy in deciding how to allocate the time with their children. The second is sticking to the parenting plan. Failure to adhere to a court-ordered parenting plan may result in consequences, which may include contempt charges or a modification of allocation of parental responsibilities that limits the involvement of the parent breaching the agreement. The entire premise of drafting thorough, fair agreements is to reach a compromise that the parties are likely to carry out in order to decrease future litigation and conflict over parenting time and responsibilities.
DuPage County Child Custody Attorneys
Summer vacation, holidays, and weekends are supposed to be fun, stress-free times for parents and children alike. Drafting a reasonable parenting plan you and your ex-spouse can stick with is key to enjoying time with your children. At Mulyk Laho Law, LLC, our skilled Glen Ellyn child custody attorneys can help you draft a fair, but beneficial, parenting plan to submit to the court. Whether you are attempting to divide parenting time and responsibilities equally or whether you are seeking to have a greater role in the child’s life than your ex-spouse, we can help you navigate the submission of your parenting plan. Contact our DuPage County divorce law firm to learn more. Call 630-852-1100 today.