parenting plan, Illinois family law attorneysIt is not easy to raise children, even under the best of circumstances. For parents who are divorced, separated, or unmarried, the situation can be much more difficult. In Illinois, the law encourages a divorcing couple with children to develop a comprehensive parenting plan so that each parent can fully understand his or her rights and responsibilities regarding the child. As time goes on, it is very important for both parties to remain compliant with the parenting plan and to keep the best interests of the child as their top priority.

Components of a Parenting Plan

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, parents involved in a proceeding for the allocation of parental responsibilities—previously known as child custody—are expected to prepare and submit to the court a proposed parenting plan. Each parent may create a separate proposal, or the parents can develop one together. The law provides more than a dozen considerations that are to be included in any parenting plan, including but not limited to:

  • The allocation of significant decision-making for the child;
  • A parenting time schedule or arrangement, including a designation of one parent as the parent with the majority of the parenting time for relocation and child support purposes
  • Each parent’s access to the child’s health and educational records
  • The child’s address for school enrollment purposes
  • Each parent’s home address and phone number
  • Each parent’s employer and work phone number
  • Provisions for communication and transportation
  • The right of first refusal, if desired, when child care is needed
  • Provisions for mediating differences or amending the parenting plan

Beyond the basic requirements, a parenting plan may also include any other details that will help the parents provide the best possible situation for their child.

Compliance Is Imperative

Once a parenting plan has been approved by the court, it carries the weight of a court-issued judgment, meaning that compliance with the plan is not optional. Consistent failure by either parent to maintain his or her responsibilities could result in the plan being modified by the court and a restriction of parental responsibilities or time with the child.

It is important to keep in mind that, in most cases, the court will not grant a modification of a parenting plan if one parent unintentionally violates the plan while acting in good faith. A modification is also not likely for a one-time event that does demonstrate a pattern of non-compliance.

For example, your parenting plan may allow you to take a day trip with your child during your parenting time, with the expectation that you will drop the child off at the other parent’s home later in the evening. On the way back from your trip, your car breaks down forcing you to spend the night in a hotel several hours from home. Technically, you may be in violation of your parenting plan, but, if you maintained communication with the other parent and continued to act in good faith, there would likely not be negative consequences. Conversely, if you regularly fail to drop your child off on time and refuse to communicate with your child’s other parent, the likelihood of a modification is much greater.

Work With a Rolling Meadows Parenting Plan Lawyer

If you are considering a divorce or other situation in which you will need to develop a parenting plan, we can help. Contact an experienced Arlington Heights family law attorney for assistance in creating an arrangement that meets your child’s needs while protecting your rights. Call 847-253-3100 for a free consultation at Cosley Law Office today.



Posted in Children of Divorce, Illinois Family Law Attorney, Parental Responsibilities, Parenting Time | Tagged , , , , ,

college, Rolling Meadows family law attorneyClasses are now well underway at universities and colleges in Illinois and around the country. If you are the parent of a college-aged son or daughter, you have probably spent much of the last few years budgeting, saving, and preparing for the costs of putting your child through college. Under Illinois law, parents who are divorced may have increased responsibilities, as they could be court-ordered to contribute toward the college expenses of their child.

If you are subject to an order for non-minor support for college expenses, you should realize that you are not the only one with obligations related to that order. Your child must assume certain responsibilities as well, or your ordered contributions will be terminated.

The Resources of the Child

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the court must consider many factors when deciding on whether to issue an order for a parent to help with the child college expense. These factors include the resources and needs of each parent, including their retirement savings. The same law, however, requires the court to take the child’s resources into account as well. The statute explicitly states that education savings accounts governed by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code—commonly known as “529 Accounts” are considered to be resources of the child, as long as they were established before the divorce. Other resources of the child may include endowments, grants, scholarships, and any other funds intended to help pay for post-secondary education.

The Age of the Child

You cannot be expected to continue paying for your child’s college forever. With this in mind, the law generally presumes that these types of support orders will be reserved for students who go to college, university, or trade school immediately after high school. Your obligation to contribute will end when your son or daughter turns 23 years old, though this can be extended to age 25 upon a showing of good cause.

Academic Performance

When deciding on whether to order non-minor support, the court must consider the child’s high school academic performance. If your son or daughter struggled to graduate because he or she showed little interest in school, the court is unlikely to order you to help pay for his or her college. Once the order has been issued, the child’s college academic performance becomes important. The court could terminate the order if your child fails to maintain at least a “C” average. Your obligation will also be terminated when your child successfully completes a bachelor degree program.

Personal Choices

Your college-aged son or daughter will be faced with many choices about his or her life, some of which could affect your obligation to continue providing support. By law, you can only be required to pay non-minor support for education expenses if your child is unmarried. If your child gets married, the court will no longer have the authority to order such payments. The court will maintain this authority, however, if your child gets pregnant, goes to jail, or joins the military, but each of these could obviously affect his or her academic performance.

A Rolling Meadows Child Support Lawyer Can Help

For more information about orders for non-minor support for education expenses in Illinois, contact an experienced Arlington Heights family law attorney. At Cosley Law Office, we help divorced parents protect their rights while looking after the best interests of their children. Call 847-253-3100 for a free consultation today.



Posted in Child Support, Children of Divorce | Tagged , , , , ,

children, Arlington Heights divorce attorneyIf you are a parent who is considering ending your marriage, you are probably very concerned about how the divorce will affect your children. The good news is that having divorced parents no longer carries the stigma it once did. Your children probably have friends and schoolmates who are happily living a life split between two households.

While divorce can be challenging for children to work through, many studies show that it is better for children to have divorced parents than married parents who are obviously miserable together. There is no perfect way to tell your kids that you and their other parent are divorcing, but experts do have advice to help the conversation go as smoothly as possible.

Reassure Children that the Divorce is Not Their Fault

Often, when children hear that their parents are getting divorced, they worry that they did something to cause the split. The complexity of adult relationships can be too much for children to understand, so their minds invent their own reasons for why their parents are divorcing. Make sure to tell your children that you and the other parent are making this decision because it is what is best for you, not because either of you is upset with the children. It is also important to remind the children that they will still be loved just the same as they were when you and the other parent were together. This is likely to be a conversation that needs to repeated several times, and it is important to not get frustrated with your children’s need for reassurance.

Make the Conversation Age Appropriate

The conversation about divorce should vary depending on your children’s ages. Children under age five will struggle to understand and remember what is happening. It is best to only tell younger children the essential information and leave out details they cannot comprehend. Older children can understand the situation better, but may still be confused and overwhelmed. You may have to remind school-aged children that you and the other parent are not getting back together and that the separation is final.

Teenaged children will best be able to understand their parent’s decision to divorce, but it is still important for parents to be cautious of oversharing. Children do not need to know why the marriage ended or who was to blame for the breakdown of the marriage. This can make them feel like they have to choose sides. Instead, keep your information fact-based and focused on need-to-know information like where and when the children will be living with each parent.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Family Law Attorney

For help with divorce, child support issues, and more, contact an experienced Arlington Heights divorce attorney at Cosley Law Office. Our team will meet with you to discuss your case and assist you in exploring all of your available options. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 847-253-3100 today.



Posted in Divorce, Divorce and Children | Tagged , , , , ,