How a Well-Written Parenting Agreement Can Help Prevent Co-Parenting Conflict Later
If you are a parent who is considering divorce or have already decided to end your marriage, you probably worry about how the divorce will affect your children. If you and your soon-to-be-ex spouse wish to share parenting responsibilities regarding your children, you will be required to formulate a parenting agreement. This parenting agreement must contain certain provisions, including schedules for parenting time and a determination of who will make major decisions about the child’s upbringing.
A parenting agreement can be an extremely effective tool for making sure that you and your child’s other parent are on the same page regarding parental responsibilities. A thorough parenting agreement can address co-parenting issues now and help prevent misunderstandings and conflict in the future.
What Must Be Included in an Illinois Parenting Plan?
After filing a divorce petition or parentage action, parents have 120 days to file a temporary parenting plan. Eventually, parents will need to agree on how parental responsibilities and parenting time are shared in a permanent parenting plan. Parents who cannot agree on these issues will likely be sent to mediation. The provisions required in an Illinois parenting agreement include but are not limited to:
- The child's residential address
- Each parent's residential address, phone number, employment address, and employment phone number
- Provisions regarding parental responsibilities (formerly called custody) and parenting time (formerly called visitation)
- How major decisions about the child’s life will be made
- How the child will communicate with parents
- Transportation arrangements
- The right that each parent has to access the child’s medical, child care, and school records
- The requirement that if a parent moves, he or she must provide 60 days’ written notice
- Each parent’s duty to inform the other of the child’s health care concerns, emergencies, travel plans, and other important issues
- A mediation provision concerning any future changes to parenting responsibilities or parenting time
- Provisions regarding the right of first refusal, if applicable
Additional Concerns You Can Include in Your Parenting Agreement
There is nothing stopping parents from including more than just the minimum requirements in their parenting agreement. Just like every family is unique, every parenting plan is unique. You should include any provisions which are relevant to your circumstances. For example, some parents have strong feelings about when the child should have a cell phone or computer. Others want certain religious or cultural practices to be a part of their child’s life. A detailed parenting agreement sets the foundation for a cooperative and effective co-parenting relationship. Working out parenting disagreements or issues now can significantly reduce the chances of problems in the future.
Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer
For help with any stage of the divorce process, contact a St. Charles family law attorney at MKFM Law today. Our lawyers have vast experience in the practice of family law, and we are equipped to help you address any challenges that may arise. Call 630-665-7300 to schedule an appointment today.