Divorce can take a toll on the entire family, but the children are the real victims during a divorce. However, a well-maintained parenting plan can give them the emotional stability need to accept their situation in a healthy manner.
Simply put, a parenting plan is a document divorcing parents must draft to determine who will make decisions for the children and how they are to be implemented. This is what is determined in a parental responsibilities case (the term ‘custody’ case is no longer used in Illinois). Some of the things that should go into the plan include the following:
- Where the children will live.
- How they are going to be transported from one parent to another for parenting time.
- How each parent gets information about their children from each other.
- The time the children will spend with each parent.
Both parents have to come up with their own version of the plan and then offer it in their parental responsibilities case. While this is not necessary if the court has not asked for one, filing a plan will ensure your children get the best care you and your ex spouse are familiar with. Here are some things you need to know about filing this plan:
- Both parents must file their plans in 120 days of asking the court for parental responsibilities.
- If they fail to file a parenting plan, the court will take matters in its own hands and hold a hearing to determine the child’s best interests.
- If you and your ex spouse agree on a parenting plan, including parenting time, you can collaborate and file a single plan with the court, which must done in 120 days.
- The final decision on who gets parental responsibilities will be made by the court after a thorough perusal of both plans.
In Elgin, Illinois and other cities in the state, the court can deem any restriction necessary if it means the children are protected during the parental responsibility case. For example, the judge can demand visits be supervised, determine locations for the visits, ban overnight visits and even deny visits if either parent is an alcoholic or abuses drugs.
If the court has to decide the responsibilities to ensure the children’s best interests, it has to consider certain factors. Some of those include the following:
- The personal wishes of the parents.
- The time each parent spent with the children in a caretaking capacity in the 24 months preceding the filing of the petition.
- Any prior agreement between the parents relating to the caretaking responsibilities regarding the children.
- The wishes of the children as long as they are old or mature enough to express reasonable expectations regarding parenting time.
Any family legal matter can be devastating for a family. However, family law attorneys at the Casement Group, P.C., can make the process much easier to manage. We can help you through your divorce proceedings, paternity case and parental responsibility case via aggressive representation. Get in touch with us for a consultation by calling 847-888-9300.