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Illinois Parenting Agreements and the New Guidelines

Recently, we updated Divorce in Illinois: A Guide for the Client page on our website to incorporate the sweeping changes made to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Act over the past two years. One particularly important change is the allocation of parental responsibilities guidelines. According to 735 ILCS 5/602.10 under Illinois law, the parenting plan is a “written agreement that allocates significant decision-making responsibilities, parenting time, or both.” Divorcing couples with children must submit a parenting plan within 120 days of filing a petition for dissolution of marriage. Both parties may file the plan jointly. However, if agreement cannot be reached then each parent must file his or her own proposed parenting plan. While the court will consider the parenting plan as presented, the court may make modifications in the best interests of the children. The parenting plan provides for the allocation of parental responsibilities including decision making on issues of health, education, religious and cultural upbringing and extracurricular activities. The plan also provides for parenting time with each party. If the parents cannot find common ground through their own efforts, the court must order mediation unless some compelling reason exists to skip that process. If mediation is unsuccessful, the court will decide the issues through an evidentiary hearing process. These changes compel the courts to move child related issues quickly through the court system for the sake of making the divorce transition as smooth as possible for the children.

A well-prepared parenting plan can limit or eliminate the need to modify a parenting plan in the future. Attorney Robert S. Medansky has the compassion, integrity, and legal experience to help you navigate your divorce involving children. If you are considering a divorce, having problems agreeing to a parenting plan, or need to pursue modifications to an existing parenting plan, Robert Medansky can help.

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