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


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New Law Requires Divorcing Parents to Submit Parenting Plan

Posted on in Illinois family law attorney

parenting plan, parental responsibilities, Illinois family law attorneyAs part of the family law reform bill passed in Illinois earlier this summer, the concept of “legal child custody” is being replaced by the allocation of parenting responsibilities regarding the child. The goal of the change is shift the focus of separated or divorcing parents away from “winning” or “losing” custody and toward a spirit of cooperation in raising their child.

What is a Parenting Plan?

Beginning January 1, parents who are party to case involving the allocation of parenting responsibilities are statutorily expected to attempt to develop a written parenting plan. In recognition that negotiation is nearly always better than courtroom litigation, the parents are encouraged to reach an agreement that is acceptable to both parties and in the child’s best interest. As defined in the law, a parenting plan outlines each parent’s significant decision-making responsibilities, parenting time/schedules, or both. To be accepted by the court, a proposed plan must include:

  • Delineation of decision-making responsibilities for each parent;
  • Provisions for the child’s living arrangements, and time with each parent;
  • A process for mediating or amending the plan;
  • Each parents access and responsibility for school, health, and other records;
  • Provisions for potential parental moves; and
  • Details regarding communication or addressing problems.

Presentation to the Court

Within 120 days of filing a petition for the allocation of parental responsibilities or receiving a notice of the filing, a proposed parenting plan must be filed with court. The deadline may be extended based upon showing of good cause. Each party may file separately, or they may choose to file a single plan. If the parents are unable to reach any type of agreement, the court may order mediation to develop or modify their plan. In the event that mediation is unsuccessful, or if the parents fail to file a proposed parenting plan, the court will conduct a hearing to allocate parental responsibilities upon its discretion.

When a plan is presented to the court, it will be reviewed to ensure the best interests of the child are being protected, along with the parent rights of each party. Unless the court finds the agreement to be unconscionable, the parenting plan will be approved and will provide the basis for the resulting order.

Know Your Rights

If you are in the midst of a dispute regarding parenting responsibilities of your child, it is important to seek the help of an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Contact our office today to learn more about how we can help you exercise your parental and ensure your child’s best interests are being considered. We are proud to serve the needs of clients throughout DuPage County and the surrounding areas.


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


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

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