Understanding the Parenting Time Schedule Basics in Illinois
Many drastic changes have been made to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) during 2016, affecting different elements of divorce in Illinois. In January 2016, laws pertaining to child custody and visitation were revamped, and changed into allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. Divorcing parents are now required to negotiate or litigate, and present court with a parenting plan. It essentially comprises of two important elements, one of which is a Parenting Time Schedule.
Parenting Time Schedule Basics
Depending on the amount of parenting time allocated to each spouse, a Parenting Time Schedule must be prepared that addresses a number of things related to their children, such as:
- School Year Schedule: Education is of utmost importance when it comes to the upbringing of your child. While it is best to have a regular schedule where both parents work out a way to share responsibilities pertaining to school-related activities, circumstances arise when one parent may not be able to follow the schedule. This may be due to emergency situations, traveling for work, spending extended hours to complete assignments, and others.
- Vacations: Parents must work out the vacations each year, and prepare a vacation schedule. This may involve details about contiguous weeks, giving prior notice to the other spouse for any changes, and ways to settle any conflicts regarding the schedule.
- Holidays: Some people celebrate more occasions and events than others. You should think about which holidays your children are used to taking. It may include the big six, namely, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, and New Years’. Other holidays may include St. Patrick’s Day, MLK Day, Mother’s and Father’s Day, birthdays, and others.
- School Breaks: If there are likely to be possible school breaks, be sure to consider it when deciding on the Parenting Time Schedule.
- Transportation Responsibilities: You must spell out who will pick up and drop the children to and from school, as well as do the same for after-school activities, like dance classes, karate lessons, etc.
- Rights of First Refusal: It refers to turning down the request of a parent for taking care of the children during their normal parenting time. While it is not necessary to include a Right of First Refusal, you can list down the specific conditions where you can use this legal instrument.
- Communications: This may include guidelines for any kind of communication that one parent may have with their children during the other parent’s parenting time. You may also include the admissible mediums of communication.
- A Provision for Mediation: It is a mandatory provision that parents must include in every agreement. It allows parents to decide a way to resolve conflicts and issues pertaining to the reallocation of parenting time on their own, without involving the court.
Illinois family laws have changed significantly over the past few years. You should consider working with an experienced family law attorney who can help you understand and prepare the Parenting Time Schedule, as well as provide guidance for negotiation with your spouse. Contact Dan Walker Law Office today at 630-920-8800 to schedule an initial consultation and discuss your case.