As a parent of a minor child, you can expect a parenting plan order to be part of your divorce settlement. This is to ensure that your child continues to have consistent relationships with both parents after their divorce. Take time now to educate yourself about Illinois parenting plans so that you are prepared for this portion of the divorce process.
Understanding Illinois Parenting Plans
A parenting plan is made up of two components – parenting time and parental responsibilities. Parenting time is the time the child spends with each parent. This was once known as physical custody and visitation. Parental responsibilities were previously known as legal custody, and focus on the right to make important decisions on the child’s behalf.
Illinois courts determine an appropriate parenting time and parental responsibilities arrangement based on what they determine to be in the child’s best interest. Usually, parents share parenting time and parental responsibilities. However, the court may determine that an arrangement in which one parent has most or all of the parenting time and responsibilities is in the child’s best interest.
To determine the arrangement that best serves a child’s interest, the court considers a variety of factors. These factors include:
- The child’s relationship with each parent;
- Any history of domestic violence in either parent’s home;
- Both parents’ prior willingness to cooperate with court orders;
- Both parents’ willingness to foster a positive relationship between the child and the other parent; and
- The child’s personal needs.
Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Parent
Know your rights as a parent and the responsibilities that accompany them. These include:
- The right to seek child support to help cover your child-related expenses;
- The responsibility to comply with your parenting time order;
- The right to seek a modification to your parenting time or parental responsibilities; and
- The right to legally hold your former spouse accountable for his or her failure to comply with the parenting plan.
How a Child Custody Lawyer Can Help You
Your lawyer’s role is to act as your advocate. As your advocate, he or she explains the process of developing a parenting plan to you and helps you understand it in the context of your case. When developing a parenting plan, your lawyer may also negotiate with your spouse’s lawyer to reach an agreement. Your lawyer can also work with you to gather and use evidence to help you pursue your interests, like fighting a false accusation about your character or demonstrating your day-to-day role in your child’s life.
Work with an Experienced Lake Forest Child Custody Lawyer
When you are facing legal challenges related to your child custody order, be sure to face them with an experienced Lake Forest family lawyer by your side. Get started on your case with a member of our team at The Andrea Heckman Law today by scheduling your initial legal consultation with us. Everything we discuss during your consultation will remain 100% confidential.