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Joint Custody? Sole Custody? No More! Welcome the "Parenting Plan"

Posted by Christopher Holwell | Mar 16, 2017 | 0 Comments

What happened to joint custody of minor children in a divorce? The name has changed but much of the law remains intact. See 750 ILCS 5/602.10: Parenting Plan. It is also important to notice that there is a time requirement for this to be completed to avoid a hearing in the divorce (120 days from the date of service or filing of any petition, unless extended for good cause.)

What is a "Parenting Plan"? Under the new law, parents of minor children are more than encouraged to be active in the parenting responsibility of their kids.  The Parenting Plan must at a minimum set out: 

(1) an allocation of significant decision-making responsibilities;

(2) provisions for the child's living arrangements and for each parent's parenting time, including either:

(A) a schedule that designates in which parent's home the minor child will reside on given days; or

(B) a formula or method for determining such a schedule in sufficient detail to be enforced in a subsequent proceeding;

(3) a mediation provision addressing any proposed reallocation of parenting time or regarding the terms of allocation of parental responsibilities, except that this provision is not required if one parent is allocated all significant decision-making responsibilities;

(4) each parent's right of access to medical, dental, and psychological records (subject to the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act), child care records, and school and extracurricular records, reports, and schedules, unless expressly denied by a court order or denied under subsection (g) of Section 602.5;

(5) a designation of the parent who will be denominated as the parent with the majority of parenting time for purposes of Section 606.10;

(6) the child's residential address for school enrollment purposes only;

(7) each parent's residence address and phone number, and each parent's place of employment and employment address and phone number;

(8) a requirement that a parent changing his or her residence provide at least 60 days prior written notice of the change to any other parent under the parenting plan or allocation judgment, unless such notice is impracticable or  unless otherwise ordered by the court. If such notice is impracticable, written notice shall be given at the earliest date practicable. At a minimum, the notice shall set forth the following:

(A) the intended date of the change of residence; and

(B) the address of the new residence;

(9) provisions requiring each parent to notify the other of emergencies, health care, travel plans, or other significant child-related issues;

(10) transportation arrangements between the parents;

(11) provisions for communications, including electronic communications, with the child during the other parent's parenting time;

(12) provisions for resolving issues arising from a parent's future relocation, if applicable;

(13) provisions for future modifications of the parenting plan, if specified events occur;

(14) provisions for the exercise of the right of first refusal, if so desired, that are consistent with the best interests of the minor child; provisions in the plan for the exercise of the right of first refusal must include:

(i) the length and kind of child-care requirements invoking the right of first refusal;

(ii) notification to the other parent and for his or her response;

(iii) transportation requirements; and

(iv) any other provision related to the exercise of the right of first refusal necessary to protect and promote the best interests of the minor child; and

(15) any other provision that addresses the child's best interests or that will otherwise facilitate cooperation between the parents.

The personal information under items (6), (7), and (8) of this subsection is not required if there is evidence of or the parenting plan states that there is a history of domestic violence or abuse, or it is shown that the release of the information is not in the child's or parent's best interests.

(g) The court shall conduct a trial or hearing to determine a plan which maximizes the child's relationship and access to both parents and shall ensure that the access and the overall plan are in the best interests of the child. The court shall take the parenting plans into consideration when determining parenting time and responsibilities at trial or hearing.

(h) The court may consider, consistent with the best interests of the child as defined in Section 602.7 of this Act, whether to award to one or both of the parties the right of first refusal in accordance with Section 602.3 of this Act.

Contact our office at 312-648-6115 to get a better understanding of what is required!

About the Author

Christopher Holwell

Christopher W. Holwell Attorney/Principal 9 years with Holwell Group, LLC/Law Offices of Christopher W. Holwell 19 years as a trial attorney for Divorce, Real Estate, Insurance Coverage, and Injury. One of my biggest accomplishments in a divorce case was getting a multi-million dollar settlement from a spouse that was not disclosing several million dollars in assets. In addition, I was able to get the other spouse to fully fund the one child's college education as part of the settlement. Another of my biggest accomplishments in an injury case was procuring a several hundred thousand dollar settlement for my 14-year-old client who suffered a knee injury during an after school athletic program. I was able to get all interested parties to set aside funds for the client's college fund in case his athletic scholarship was affected. I am constantly attending Continuing Legal Education seminars to stay up to date on any changes in the law that might affect any of my clients. My primary areas of practice are Divorce, Family Law, Real Estate, and Insurance Litigation. Most of my clients are concerned with what to do or what not to do when the first come to see me for a consultation or appointment. Their next concern is usually financial; what are they going to do now? How are they going to survive? I tell each client, based on their unique situation, what their options are and what will happen next. I am there for them from start to finish. The best part of my job is doing the work the client is too upset to do. While I understand the emotional roller-coaster clients go through, my experience allows me to step outside the emotion point of view, and use the law and facts to benefit my clients to the best of my ability. I was born in Oak Lawn, Illinois, was raised in Bridgeview up until college and now live in Lake County, Illinois with my family (my wife and three children.) I still have family in Bridgeview, Oak Lawn, and Orland Park. A little-known fact about me is that I love astronomy and anything to do with the stars and planets. In my free time, I tend to read a lot, usually late at night and play with my children and new Newfoundland puppy, Indy (Indiana Jones) I am admitted to practice law in Illinois and all Federal Courts including the Supreme Court of the Untied States of America. I treat my clients like friends. You can reach me at: (312) 648-6115 [email protected] [email protected] Linkedin: Christopher W. Holwell Facebook: Holwell Law Group, LLC


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