Now that we know that the State of Illinois refers to “Custody” as “Allocation of Parental Responsibilities” as established by 2016 state law, we can move forward to outline how two parents can arrange parenting responsibilities for their children and enter their agreement within the court system, known as a Parenting Plan.
What is a Parenting Plan?
A legal document that outlines the legal rights and obligations of both parents regarding their children is known as a Parenting Plan. Even though the terminology has changed, the same concerns about parental responsibilities are required in the current Parenting Plans. For example, a Parenting Plan can cover issues such as major decision-making in the lives of their children, parenting time schedules, driving responsibilities when exchanging children, each parent’s access to the children’s school and medical records, and how far a parent can move with the children.
Should both parents reach an agreement, attorneys can draft the Parenting Plan and submit it to a judge. Once it becomes an official court order, both parents must follow the plan. If either party disagrees about how to arrange parental responsibilities, a judge can hold a hearing and determine the best arrangement for the children.
For the State of Illinois, a Parenting Plan must outline:
- Allocation of significant decision-making responsibilities for the child, regarding specifically the child’s medical needs, education, religion and extra-curricular activities
- A schedule that outlines when the parents will exercise parenting time and where the children will live
- A mediation provision in the event the parties cannot agree on parenting time or parental responsibilities (unless only one parent is allocated decision-making authority)
- Each parent’s right of access to children’s records such as medical, dental and mental health, and childcare records, unless expressly denied by the Court
- Designation of which parent has the majority of parenting time for purposes of State or Federal statutes that require such a designation
- Residential address of the children for school enrollment purposes only
- Parents’ phone numbers and addresses for home and for their employer
- Sixty-day written notice provision in the event a parent changes his/her address, which must include the intended day of move and the new address. In addition, each parent must notify the other of travel plans, emergencies, or other significant issues related to the children
- Requirement that the parties notify one another in cases of emergencies, health care, travel plans, or other significant child-related issues
- Provisions for resolving disputes on a parent’s relocation or future modification of the parenting plan if specific events occur
- Transportation arrangements for the children for parenting time
- A right of refusal: covers the parents in the event that the parent is not able to keep a scheduled time, has the children during the other parent’s scheduled time, and must include the notice and response required by both parents in such an event
Further Information about the New Parenting Plan
Parenting Plans must be proposed to the Court within 120 days of beginning a court case for Parental Allocation. The parents can each submit a plan or file their agreed plan to the Court. In the event a plan is not filed with the Court, a hearing will be held to allocate parenting responsibilities.
Making a Parenting Plan is a lengthy and involved process. If you have questions or need help regarding parental allocation decisions for your children, do not hesitate to contact the Sherer Law Offices. Our attorneys are skilled in assisting each client with family law decisions and offering expert legal guidance throughout the parental allocation process.