The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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Creating a parenting plan can be challenging, requiring parents to make important decisions about their children's care and upbringing. There is no universal solution; however, parents should avoid some common mistakes to ensure that their parenting plan is practical and workable.

Using General Wording

One common mistake parents make when creating a parenting plan is using vague or general wording. This can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. Unfortunately, it leaves room for interpretation and disagreement. To avoid this mistake, it is important to be specific and detailed when outlining the plan's parenting schedule and other provisions.

For example, instead of saying that the child will spend "weekends" with one parent, specify which weekends (e.g., the first and third weekends of the month) and the exact times of pick-up and drop-off. Precise detail can help prevent conflicts and ensure parents understand their rights and responsibilities.


IL divorce lawyerIllinois legally requires divorcing parents to submit a parenting plan to the court within 120 days of filing for divorce. This important document must outline custody logistics, including the child's primary residence, each parent's allotted parenting time and schedule, procedures for sharing information and records related to the child, transportation details for exchanges, decision-making authority on major issues, and any limitations on moving out of state with the child. 

Understanding these baseline legal requirements for parenting plans is an essential first step.

Make Your Child the Priority

While following the mandated legal guidelines, the most critical factor when designing your parenting plan should be your child's best interests. Carefully consider the complete picture of your child's needs, including their physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being. Assess their relationships with each parent, personality, age, school, and extracurricular activities. Your plan should reflect their unique needs to stabilize and support their growth and development after the divorce.


IL family lawyerIf a parent has a substance abuse problem, it can seriously impact a child custody case. Suppose you are involved in an Illinois child custody case and are worried about how substance abuse may affect your situation. In that case, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the potential impact. Here’s what you should be aware of.

Substance Abuse and the Best Interests of the Child

In Illinois, the court’s primary consideration in a child custody case is the child’s best interests. When one parent has a substance abuse problem, the court will consider several factors to determine what is in the child’s best interests. These factors may include:

  • The nature and extent of the substance abuse problem
  • The parent’s ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child
  • The parent’s willingness to seek treatment for the substance abuse problem
  • The impact of the substance abuse on the child’s physical, emotional, and mental health
  • The parent’s ability to meet the child’s medical, educational, and emotional needs
  • The parent’s history of abuse or neglect of the child or other family members
  • The parent’s criminal history, if any, related to substance abuse

How Substance Abuse Can Affect Custody Determinations

When one parent has an alcohol or substance abuse problem, it can affect custody determinations in several ways. For example, the court may:


Parental Allocation In Illinois

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Il custody lawyerDivorce can be a very taxing thing to go through, especially if there are children involved. It is in the best interest of both parents and the child for the parties to negotiate and work together to negotiate the best way to decide custody. Each parent should create a parenting plan, either together or separately, that outlines how they want to share parental responsibilities and parenting time. An IMDMA's parental allocation follows the general concept of custody but allows for more flexibility and detailed arrangements. Under Illinois law, caretaking functions include:

  • Supervising the child’s safety and well-being
  • Providing meals, bathing, grooming, and clothing
  • Providing transportation to school, activities, or appointments
  • Obtaining medical care or treatment for the child
  • Monitoring the child’s academic progress
  • Help with homework, studying, or other school-related tasks
  • Communication between parties on issues related to parenting time or visitation
  • Attending meetings with teachers, counselors, or other professionals
  • Arranging or providing extracurricular activities

When deciding on your parenting plan, it is in the child's best interest for both parties to negotiate calmly and think about what will give your child the best life and opportunities. If the parties disagree on what they feel is best for their child, the court will ultimately decide what they believe is best.

Parental Responsibilities

Parental responsibilities refer to how significant decisions about the child's education, health, religion, and extracurricular activities will be handled. These things can be jointly decided upon or separately.


DuPage County child custody attorneyWhen determining how to handle issues related to child custody in the state of Illinois, parents are usually encouraged to attempt to share custody. Parents can work together to create a parenting plan that fully details all of the legal and physical custody decisions for the child. If they are unable to negotiate terms that they both agree with, then they may be required to participate in court-ordered mediation. In these situations, a certified mediator will help the parents communicate, negotiate, and attempt to find agreements that will work for both of them. 

If disagreements cannot be resolved through mediation, then the court will make the ultimate decision. These decisions will address both physical and legal custody. Legal custody, known as the allocation of parental responsibilities, determines how parents will make the major decisions in the child’s life. Physical custody, known as parenting time, will determine when children will spend time with each parent in their day-to-day life. When how legal and physical custody of a child will be divided between parents, the court will first and most importantly consider the best interest of the child. Several different factors will be considered when making these decisions. 

Legal Custody 

When the court is determining how parental responsibilities will be allocated between parents, the following factors will be considered: 

The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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