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Arlington Heights family law attorneysFor a couple with children, a divorce or separation can be particularly challenging. In addition to the difficulties inherent to every other marital dissolution, such as property division and alimony, divorcing parents are also faced with the prospect of sharing parental responsibilities. As with most aspects of divorce, the court can and will determine arrangements for dividing these responsibilities, but only if necessary. Illinois courts and the law much prefer that divorcing parents reach an agreement of their own, as a negotiated arrangement is more likely to be followed than one simply imposed by a judge. Drafting a parenting plan that works well for you, your spouse, and your child is a vital part of the divorce process for parents.

Decision-Making Authority

Your parenting plan must clearly lay out the rights and responsibilities for both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse regarding your child. Recent changes to the law in Illinois have eliminated the concepts of sole and joint child custody, so the two of you will need to decide who will be responsible for what, especially regarding significant issues like education, health care, religious training, and extracurricular activities. One of you may be responsible for all significant decisions, they may be split between you, or you may choose to make all such decisions together—presuming that communication is strong enough to facilitate cooperation.

Other Considerations

A workable parenting plan will also need to include some type of method for determining each party’s parenting time. Whether you decide to follow a strict schedule or use a more flexible arrangement, you are both entitled to time with your child. You will also need to decide which of your homes will be used for school enrollment and other custodial-type purposes. Your plan should also include, if appropriate, the right of first refusal regarding alternative child-care needs.

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