Illinois Parenting Plans Explained

Frank Serritella

Article originally posted at Serritella Law

Parenting plans are a vital aspect of any family law matters, whether divorce or parentage, involving child custody and visitation. Parenting plans are either presented by the parents to the judge, if an agreement can be reached, or ordered by the judge following a hearing. In this article, we will go through the Illinois Parenting Plan agreement and make sure you are informed on what a parenting plan determines, how to file a parenting plan, if a parenting plan can cover multiple children, and how to change a parenting plan.

If you’d like to follow along, a copy of a typical Illinois parenting plan can be found here.

What Is a Parenting Plan in Illinois? 

A parenting plan is a court order, often referred to as an “Allocation Judgment,” setting forth how parents will share parenting time and parenting responsibility (decision-making) for their child(ren). A parenting plan allows the parents to set specific rights and limitations, as well as determine visitation, now called parenting time, and custody, now called parenting responsibility and decision-making authority. The plan also includes the legal rights and responsibilities of both parents, such as daily care and access to school and medical records. 

What Information is Needed for a Parenting Plan? 

A Parenting Plan agreement requires a finding of who the parents are and who the child(ren) is that will be subject to the plan. The plan covers issues such as parenting time (visitation), parental responsibilities (decision-making authority) and other provisions required by statute, such as limitations on a custodial parent seeking to relocate at a later date with the minor child(ren).

Can a Parenting Agreement Cover Multiple Children? 

A parenting agreement will cover all of the children of the parties, so long as they are still minors, absent an agreement to the contrary by the parties.

What are the Rights and Responsibilities of Parents in Illinois? 

A parenting agreement lists the basic rights and responsibilities of both parents. This includes making day-to-day choices for a child such as meals, curfew, chores, and hygiene. It also allows a parent to provide minor medical treatment, so long as they inform the other parent of any visits to a medical professional and provide contact information. A parent must also notify the other parent as immediately as possible if the child faces a medical emergency or they plan to travel away from home. 

Can a Parent Make Significant Choices for their Child? 

A parent plan will determine whether both parents or an individual parent will make significant decisions for their child. This significant decision-making authority covers decisions related to education, extracurricular activities, religion and healthcare decisions. These decisions can be broken up as well so that, for example, one parent can control religious choices while they share in education. 

Determining Child Visitation Time in a Parenting Plan 

A parenting plan allows the parents to set a specific schedule for custody by the day of the week, with specific times for pickup and drop-off. It also allows them to set specific provisions for special events such as holidays and birthdays. These events can be broken up individually or grouped. Parents can be as specific as they wish, allowing for specialized agreements for school breaks and resolving conflicts when holidays collide. 

How Is Transportation Determined in a Parenting Plan in Illinois? 

Transportation before and after parenting time as well as the drop off and pick up procedure are all detailed within a parenting plan in Illinois. Transportation can cover both to and from each parents location. It is generally common that transportation be split between the parties in that each parent is responsible to either pick up at the start of their parenting time or drop off at the conclusion of their parenting time. If you wish to add specifics such as transportation to extracurricular activities, that can also be added to a parenting agreement. 

Can a Parent Stop a Child from Contacting the Other Parent? 

In 2021, electronic communication can keep us all connected, even when we are away. When you are with your child during parenting time, their ability to contact their other parent via text messages, phone calls, or video calls can be determined in a parenting agreement. Parents can dedicate specific times within which electronic communication is allowed. If they are within the allotted time, a parent cannot deny them the chance to communicate. The parent also cannot unreasonably monitor or interrupt communication between their child and the other parent. 

This article broke down an Illinois Parenting Plan, explaining the information required for a parenting plan, the rights and responsibilities of parents under a parenting plan, and what a parenting plan includes. This is only general information. If you would like to continue learning more about child custody laws in Illinois or would like to start examining your specific case, please reach out to an attorney and we would be happy to help.

If you need assistance creating or enforcing parenting plans in Illinois, contact us today for a free consultation to learn how we protect your parental interests.

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