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Illinois divorcees may benefit from clear parenting plans

On behalf of Janet Boyle of Boyle Feinberg Sharma posted in Child Custody on Wednesday, March 23, 2016.

Illinois couples who get divorced and who have young children need to take their parenting plans into careful consideration first. Even when these plans fail to work as originally intended, they may be useful fall-back documents that can be applied in dispute resolution. Having a parenting plan could also make it easier to negotiate and mediate changes without resorting to formal court hearings, and the existence of written arrangements helps establish that both parents play active roles in their children’s lives.

Observers say the majority of parenting arrangements are built around joint legal custody in which each parent has a say in important decisions for the child such as education and religion. In physical custody arrangements, parents agree to divide their children’s time according to a predetermined schedule, with one parent usually having primary custody. The kinds of terms parents agree to can also impact future affairs, like grandchild visitation rights and care.

Having an extra backup plan may help families account for unforeseen events, such as the long-distance relocation of one or both parents. These issues might also be covered in a section of the primary plan devoted to additional orders. Modifications to existing parenting agreements can help build a written record of intent for later use, and plans that favor extensive detail make it easier to avoid disputes based on hearsay.

Getting a divorce can be an emotional affair, and neglectful planning only makes it harder. Couples who fail to arrange how they will care for their children may wind up embroiled in custody disputes that lessen the chances their differences will get resolved amicably, and they thus may want to have the assistance of their respective family law attorneys in negotiating such a plan.