Illinois Family Law Parenting Plan Basics


Illinois Family Law Parenting Plan BasicsIf you are getting a divorce and you have children, you need to understand the Illinois family law parenting plan basics because it will lay out who will make decisions about your children. Our attorneys at O’Dekirk, Allred and Associates in Joliet can help you through this process, protecting your rights and helping you fight for what’s best for your children.

Parenting Plan

In a divorce where children are involved or parentage case, parents have 120 days (720 ILCS 5/602.10) to file with the court, jointly or separately, what is called a parenting plan. This is a temporary plan that will become the permanent plan for at least the next two years.  


On the status date, lawyers for the parents will tell the judge whether the parents have reached a joint agreement on the parenting plan on all issues of parental responsibilities, including decision-making powers and all parenting time issues. If the parents don’t agree on ALL issues, the court will send them to mediation.

Agreed Extensions

Another one of the Illinois family law parenting plan basics states that if the parents cannot agree on all points of a parenting plan, they’re allowed to extend the mediation time and continue working together outside of mediation, or for good cause if the judge agrees. (750 ILCS 5/602.10(e)(1), (2), and (3))

Agreed Parenting Plan 

When the parents agree on all points of the parenting plan, it is written up, signed by the parents, and is binding on the court. (750 ILCS 5/602.10(d)).

Allocation Judgment

If the parents can’t agree on the parenting plan, then they must each submit their own plan to the judge. The judge will first approve the items the parents agreed on. As for the ones that are still in dispute, the judge will make the final decision. At this point, the outcome is considered an allocation judgment instead of a parenting plan.

Contents of Parenting Plan

The parents must discuss and include the following items in the plan:

  • Decision-making responsibilities
  • Living arrangements for the child
  • Mediation for any changes
  • Right of access to medical, dental, child care records, and school and extracurricular records, reports, and schedules
  • Designation of the parent with the majority of parenting time
  • The child’s residential address for school enrollment
  • Each parent’s residence address and phone number, employment and employment address and phone number
  • Notice if a parent changes their residence
  • Notice of emergencies, health care, travel plans, or other significant child-related issues
  • Transportation arrangements between the parents
  • Provisions for communications
  • Provisions for resolving issues arising from a parent’s future relocation
  • Provisions for future modifications of the parenting plan
  • Provisions for exercising the right of first refusal that are consistent with the best interests of the minor child
  • Any other provision that addresses the child’s best interests or that will otherwise facilitate cooperation between the parents

The Illinois family law parenting plan basics can be confusing. So, it’s important to have proper guidance when protecting your parental interests and doing what’s best for your child. Our experienced lawyers at O’Dekirk, Allred and Associates in Joliet can effectively put you in the best possible position to achieve the outcome you desire. Please call or contact us today for a free consultation.

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