For couples with children, creating a parenting plan can be the most difficult part of divorce. As you and your spouse figure your arrangement out, you may face challenges in allocating responsibility and time. No matter how much you two disagree right now, it’s crucial to put your children’s best interests first when working out these matters.
Illinois’ parenting laws
Illinois parenting plans focus on the division of parental responsibility and parenting time. Parental responsibility designates who makes decisions about your children’s lives and well-being. And parenting time determines which parent your children will live with. In either case, this could be you, your spouse or both. The state favors shared parenting in most instances, so long as you two are both fit parents.
Multiple factors hold weight in how you and your spouse will divide parental responsibility and parenting time. These may include:
- You and your spouse’s ability to make decisions together
- You and your spouse’s physical and mental health
- The division of parental responsibilities during your marriage
- The proximity of you and your spouse’s residences to each other
- Any history of abuse perpetrated by you or your spouse
- Your children’s wishes if they are 14 or older
A strong parenting plan will incorporate specifics beyond parental responsibility and parenting time. You may include details about how you will transport your children between households. These may seem trivial. But they can help prevent confusion, frustration and potential violation of your agreement. Your plan might also outline how you and your spouse will communicate with each other. This provision may be especially helpful if your split is contentious and you have trouble making decisions together. And you two will need to work out who will spend birthdays, holidays and other special occasions with your children as well. Doing so can help you avoid any disputes when these events roll around.
Figuring out a parenting plan may be difficult if you and your spouse cannot see eye to eye. But by keeping Illinois’ laws and your children in mind, you can have a better idea of what you need to prioritize. An attorney with family law experience can help you through the process.