As you begin to navigate the divorce process, the tasks you must face can seem daunting. It is natural to feel overwhelmed by what likely seems to be a never-ending to-do list, but the upside to this challenge is that the more organized you are, the more you improve your chances of experiencing a smoother, less stressful divorce from start to finish. If you and your spouse share children, topics such as the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation) can be especially taxing as you organize the next chapter of your lives, as these topics tend to be highly emotional for both parties. However, a thorough parenting plan will help better facilitate your post-divorce parenting arrangements and ultimately support your child’s best interests.
A parenting plan in the state of Illinois is, in essence, an outline of each parent’s responsibilities included in your divorce decree. It acts as a rulebook with clear guidelines for both parents, so each party knows what is expected of them moving forward. To ensure your arrangements are as efficient as possible and serve to protect the well-being of your children after the separation, it is important that your plan covers all the basics. Your attorney will assist in negotiating the terms and can help direct and advise you in the revision of any details or areas that need to be addressed, but every parenting plan should at least touch on the following three issues:
Guidelines for where your child will live - Decisions about each parent’s time spent with the child, as well as a schedule for the time the child will spend in each home must be discussed in the parenting plan. You must identify which residence in which the child will spend the majority of his or her time, and the hours and days of the week you intend for them to stay at each time. If one parent plans to spend more time with the child, this needs to be described in detail as well.
Permission of each parent to access personal records - State law requires you to outline each parent’s rights regarding access to the child’s personal records. These records include everything from medical, dental, and psychological records to school and extracurricular activity documentation.
Relocation information, if applicable - Guidelines for how each parent will contact the other in case of emergency or how to communicate about important matters such as transportation arrangements, travel plans, or healthcare concerns must be included in your plan, particularly if one parent is changing the location of his or her residence. You must report written notice of any relocation within 60 days to the other parent under the plan.
Additionally, you will need to include information such as each parent’s employment information, as well as residential addresses and telephone numbers, which are required for your child’s school enrollment purposes.
The inner workings of a parenting plan can be complex, due to the number of details required. You do not want to leave any significant issue unaddressed, as the guidelines you agree to now have the power to shape all future interactions between you and the other parent. Do not leave your relationship with your child and his or her health and well-being to chance. Reach out to a qualified Bloomingdale parenting plan attorney who can provide you with the direction and assistance you need during the divorce process. Call the Mevorah Law Offices LLC today at 630-932-9100 and schedule your free consultation.
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