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Parenting Plans In Chicago, Divorces With Children


Going through a divorce that involves children can be difficult and very stressful. Divorcing parents have the increased responsibility during a divorce to determine a plan for their children, and parents often do not see eye-to-eye on what that plan should look like. Certainly, in a divorce that involves children, issues involving the children are often the most contested and difficult parts of the divorce process. Accordingly, divorcing parents should be aware of one of the key elements of a divorce involving children: the parenting plan.

What is a Parenting Plan in a Chicago Divorce?

Once a couple or spouse has decided to file for divorce, they should begin to think about some of the basic elements of the divorce that will come up in the next phases of the process. If children are involved in the divorce proceedings, the first thing that a divorcing couple or spouse should be aware of is the “parenting plan”. Simply put, a parenting plan is an agreement memorialized in a document that establishes important responsibilities in regards to the children of the marriage, specifically significant decision-making responsibilities of the parents over the children and the division of time that the children will spend with each parent. Accordingly, under Illinois law, a Chicago parenting plan is “a written agreement that allocates significant decision-making responsibilities, parenting time, or both.” Essentially, once a parenting plan is reached in a Chicago divorce, it effectively becomes the law of the case regarding the rights and responsibilities of the parents over the children involved in the divorce.

What is Included in a Parenting Plan in a Chicago Divorce?

In Chicago divorces, parenting plans generally include the following key determinations of decision-making over the children and parenting time when it comes to the children involved in the divorce:

  • Designation of a decision-maker or decision-makers who will make significant decisions for the child or children, such as education, religious, and medical decisions;
  • The division of time the child or children will spend with the parent or parents and a parenting schedule;
  • Access to records of the children, such as medical and school records;
  • How the parenting plan agreement can be modified;
  • Logistical decisions, such as pick-up and drop-off specifics, and other transportation issues.

Other key elements may also be included in a parenting plan.

Who Determines the Parenting Plan in a Chicago Divorce?

Under Illinois divorce laws, divorcing parents have time limitations and responsibilities when it comes to submitting a parenting plan with the court. Under the law, each parent must file a parenting plan within a specific time period. If the divorcing parents agree on the parenting plan, they may file a joint parenting plan, and if they disagree, they can each file a parenting plan. Ultimately, if the parties disagree on the parenting plan, decisions regarding the parenting plan will be left to the Court.

Help with Chicago Divorces Involving Children

Going through a divorce that involves children can be a daunting task that can affect a parent’s rights immensely. Therefore, parents should speak with experienced legal counsel if they are involved in a divorce to learn their rights and options, and to get help. The Chicago divorce lawyers at Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux are experienced in representing clients with children and navigating the parenting plan and child custody process. Contact the experienced attorneys at Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux today for a confidential consultation to see if they can help.



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