Tag Archives: parenting agreement

Tips for How to Negotiate a Parenting Plan

DuPage County Divorce LawyerOne of the main priorities of any divorcing parent is to figure out how to create a parenting plan that best supports the child’s development and allows each parent sufficient time and input in the child’s life. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to these agreements because the needs of each child and the circumstances of each family differ.

The most important aspect of any parenting plan is that it includes terms the parents can follow without constant conflict. This is often easier said than done due to the strong emotions involved after divorce. The court expects parents to make a genuine attempt to settle matters on their own, and while a family law judge must approve any plan, the specifics should be worked out between the parents. Courts do not have the capacity to fully analyze and understand the unique dynamics of a family, so any parenting plan created by a judge will be somewhat standard and generic as a result. This risks future litigation to enforce or modify the parenting agreement, a situation that is detrimental to the child’s well-being.

Parenting Plan Checklist

The main issues parents negotiating a parenting plan must settle are how to allocate parenting time and decision-making authority. Custody and visitation are no longer the standards in child-related matters, and the law is more focused on creating an arrangement that allows for a more collaborative approach to co-parenting.

Parenting time refers to how often a parent provides childcare. It must be established how key decisions related to the child will be made, such as school enrollment, medical treatment, religious upbringing, and extracurricular activities. How much time a child is in a parent’s care will depend on the child’s age and the circumstances of the family. Some children will spend a roughly equal amount of time with each parent, while others will primarily live with one and see the other on scheduled days. These two areas cover the minimum that must be addressed in a parenting plan.

Creating Effective Parenting Plans

In addition to the issues mentioned above, another important aspect is a plan for resolving disputes. This allows for easier review and modifications to the plan over time. To better supplement the basic structure, a holiday, birthday, and vacation schedule should be developed. Other potential issues to address include the amount of time the child is permitted to watch television or be on the computer, the age at which the child should receive a cell phone, and how parents will handle disciplinary issues. Finally, provisions related to the introduction of a parent’s new romantic partner to the child is another possible consideration.

Contact a Wheaton, IL Family Law Attorney

Parenting issues are often a source of bitter disagreement, but if these matters are decided in advance through a parenting plan, conflict can be avoided. These agreements are complicated and must be approved by a judge before they become enforceable. For skilled assistance, trust the dedicated DuPage County family law attorneys at Andrew Cores Family Law Group when drafting or modifying a parenting plan. Our years of experience will help you develop the best possible plan for your child. Contact us today at 630-871-1002 for a free consultation.




What to Include in Your Parenting Agreement

parenting agreement, Wheaton divorce attorneysIf you are a parent who is planning to divorce your spouse, it is likely that one of your biggest concerns is how the divorce will affect your children. The transition from nuclear family to sharing children between two homes can be challenging and no two co-parenting arrangements are the same. Parents who plan to share custody of their children after a divorce will be expected to create a parenting plan or parenting agreement and submit it to the court. A parenting plan is not only required for divorce involving children in Illinois, but is also a great way to make sure parents are on the same page regarding how they will raise children after the divorce is finalized.

Things to Consider When Making a Parenting Plan

Because every family is different, every parenting plan is different. Some divorcing couples feel that they can roughly outline a custody and visitation schedule and plan little else while others go into much more detail about how their children should be raised. If you worry that you and your spouse will have trouble agreeing to parenting decisions in the future, it is best to be very specific in your parenting agreement. Take the time to prevent problems before they arise by making sure you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse are in agreement about parenting responsibilities.

Decisions Parents Must Make

Experts suggest parents include decisions about the following in their parenting plan:

  • Allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time (also called custody and visitation);
  • Who will have the children during holidays, birthdays, or other special events;
  • Transportation plans including how the children will be transferred between the two homes;
  • The children’s involvement in after school sports or other extracurricular activities;
  • When grandparents or other family members will see the children;
  • Child care or babysitting plans for when both parents are unavailable;
  • When parents may introduce children to a new romantic partner;
  • House rules and discipline;
  • Healthcare; and
  • Religious or cultural expectations.

Of course, many parenting plans do not include all of these considerations and others include many more than are listed here. The most important things you are required by Illinois courts to include in your plan are the custody and visitation schedules. Ultimately, your parenting plan should reflect you and your family’s needs.

A Divorce and Family Law Firm You Can Trust

If you need further assistance creating a parenting plan or have other family law concerns, contact the experienced DuPage County divorce and family law attorneys at Andrew Cores Family Law Group. Call 630-871-1002 to schedule a free initial consultation today.





Modifying a Parenting Agreement Post-Divorce in Illinois

parenting agreement, Wheaton family law attorneysLike many aspects of a divorce, your parenting plan arrangement is typically finalized at the time of the divorce, but it can still be subject to modification, should the need arise. Your DuPage County family law attorney can advise you regarding whether a parenting plan modification may be appropriate.

What Types of Parenting Plan Modifications are Available?

Parenting agreements focus on two main types of parenting rights: parenting time and parenting responsibilities, and modifications can be sought for either or both kinds parenting arrangements, including changes to:

  • Parenting time: one parent is seeking more time in-person with his or her children;
  • Legal parenting and decision-making responsibilities: one parent is seeking increased or equal parenting rights when it comes to having the authority to make important decisions about schooling, medical care, and religion, among other things.

Why Modify an Illinois Parenting Agreement?

There are several reasons why a parent may seek to modify his or her parenting plan agreement or order once it has already been finalized. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • A change in schedule – Going back to school or starting a new job, for instance, may mean the hours you have available to spend caring for your children each day have changed. Likewise, a change in your former spouse’s schedule may mean that he or she has less time to spend with your children.
  • Parental misconduct - Your child’s other parent is engaging in conduct that you believe makes them unfit to parent without supervision. This can include drug or alcohol abuse and addiction, child abuse or neglect, mental illness, criminal involvement, abandonment, failure to meet the child’s basic needs, and many other types of parental misconduct.
  • Failure to comply with divorce decree or parenting agreement - If your child’s other parent refuses to meet their obligations under the agreement or court order in place, you may consider asking for a parenting plan modification in addition to, or in place of, seeking enforcement of the original order.
  • Relocation – When a parent relocates, he or she may wish to change the parenting plan in order to spend parenting time in larger blocks – for weeks at a time during school breaks, rather than on weekends, for instance.
  • A major dispute – When an important dispute cannot be resolved through negotiation or mediation, a parent who lacks equal decision-making rights may seek joint – or even sole –  legal parenting responsibilities.

When is a Parenting Plan Modification Not Always Appropriate?

  • Seeking a child support or alimony modification – Whiile changed circumstances can lead to the need to reevaluate support determinations, the court does not base parenting rights decisions on ability to pay support, nor does it look favorably on parents seeking more parenting time solely as an effort to reduce support payments.
  • Minor disputes – Your family law attorney can discuss ways to help you resolve more minor parenting disputes without going back to court or seeking a parenting plan modification.
  • Remarriage – Remarriage, by itself, does not affect your legal parenting responsibilities status or your parenting time plan.

Consult an Experienced Illinois Parenting Plan Attorney

Whether you were never satisfied with your child parenting agreement in the first place, or recent changes in your life circumstances have made your current parenting plan arrangement unworkable, one of our passionate DuPage County family law attorneys can help you seek the child parenting plan modification you need. Reach out to us today for assistance.