finalized, the Parenting Agreement will govern resolution of the dispute and should be consulted prior to filing documents in court.
TOPICS. The children issues covered in the PA depend on what issues are covered in the Marital Settlement Agreement. At a minimum the PA must assign the legal custody and physical custody of the child/children.
SECTIONS OF THE PARENTING AGREEMENT
CUSTODY. The Parenting Agreement must the custodial agreement of the parties. Custody is defined both in both legal and physical terms.
Legal. The most common types of custody in Illinois are sole and joint.
Sole custody. Sole legal custody is where the custodian has final decision- making powers in all circumstances but should still keep the non-custodial parent aware of any developments with the child/children. The sole custodian will also be the physical custodian.
Joint custody. Joint legal custody is where the parents work together to raise the child/children and can communicate and cooperate in a fashion that is in the best interest of the child. Final decision-making power is determined in joint legal custody
Physical. Physical custody refers to the physical placement of the child/children and can also be called primary custody or residential custody. If a parent has sole legal custody, the parent will also be the physical custodian and have the final decision-making power. If the parents have agreed to joint legal custody, then the parent have the option of having joint physical custody or selecting a physical custodian.
Joint Physical. Joint physical custody refers to a visitation schedule whereby each parent has the child/children close to 50% of the time and equally share in the responsibility of raising the child. In such a situation, child support may not be ordered. This means that each parent has equal decision-making power as to all issues with the child/children unless the parenting agreement denotes a parent with specific power over specific issues.
VISITATION. The Parenting Agreement must declare when the child/children will be in the custody of which parent. The general rule is that every other weekend is rotated. If the parents live close together then weekday visits may be an option. The work schedules of the parents must be taken into consideration along with daycare, preschool, or school.
Schedule. A visitation schedule varies depending on the situation of the parents. If one parent moves to another city or county, weekday visitation may not be an option due to travel times. The extracurricular activities of the child/children may require changes in the visitation schedule during basketball, soccer, or track.
Holidays. When setting up a visitation schedule, many parents do not consider visitation during the holiday. Generally speaking holidays are rotated with each parent having certain holidays on even years and the other holidays on odd years. A common exception to the rotating holiday schedule is Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Although these days can be rotated, if one parent's family celebrates Christmas every year on Christmas Eve, then that parent will want Christmas Eve every year or vice versa. Or if one parent has a family reunion every Labor Day, then the other parent can have every Memorial Day.
Summer. Many visitation schedules change during the summer months as the child does need to be rested for school and complete homework. These changes can include extended hours, additional days, or even lengthy stays with the non-custodial parent.
Vacation. A parent is allowed to remove child/children from Illinois for the purchase of vacation so long as the other parent is giving the destination and a phone number, usually a cell phone or hotel number, by which the parent and child/children can be contacted. Many times each parent is allowed vacation time with the child with specific requirements for notification of such vacation time.
CHILD SUPPORT. The person who is paying child support is called the obligor. The recipient of child support is called the obligee.
Statutory Provisions. Illinois statute requires child support to be paid based on net income and dictates how net income is determined. The obligor will pay a percentage of net income based on the number of children. The percentage applies to each custodial parent with which the obligor has a child or children.
1 child 20% 2 children 28% 3 children 32% 4 children 40%
MEDICAL DECISIONS. The level of decision-making a parent has in regard to the medical needs of the child/children depends on the type of physical and legal custody of the parent and the parenting agreement. The level of medical decision-making does not apply to a medical emergency.
RELIGIOUS DECISIONS. The level of decision-making a parent has in regard to the religious upbringing of the child/children depends on what type of physical and legal custody of the parent and what is written in the parenting agreement.
EDUCATION. Each parent has the right to be listed as the parent and an emergency contact at the schools of the child/children. The non-custodial parent is entitled to receive all information concerning the education and welfare of child/children from the school.
RULES OF JOINT PARENTING. If the parents can work together sufficiently to jointly raise the child/children, the rules of such parenting must be set forth in the parenting agreement.
Communication. With child/children. Each parent is allowed to communicate with the child/children without censorship, frustration, or interference of the other parent. Neither parent shall discuss any financial issues with the child/children. Neither parent shall speak unfavorably of the other parent to the child/children.
Communication. With other parent. Each parent shall communication with each other in professional, professional, and dignified in the presence of the child/children. Neither parent shall say derogatory statements about the other parent that the child/children may hear (as in voicemail) or see (as in an email) or hear from a third party.
Encouragement. Each parent shall work toward creating an atmosphere of love, concern, respect, and affection by the child/children and to the child/children from each parent. Each parent shall fully cooperate in promoting and encouraging a relationship with the child/children that will provide for the child/children a feeling of security and contentment whenever possible. Each parent shall prepare and encourage the child/children for visitation with the other parent.
Information. Each parent shall supply the other parent with an address, phone number, and employment information and update the information in a timely fashion.
Visitation. Each parent shall notify the other as soon as possible as to any disruption, modification, or a request for change in visitation. Each parent shall work with the other to arrange a visitation schedule, which shall take into account the child/children's best interest academically, educationally, socially, physically, and spiritually. Each parent must keep in mind that the best interest of the child comes before the visitation of the parent. All extracurricular activities will have precedence over visitation. However, the other parent must arrange a make-up visitation as soon as possible.
MEDIATION REQUIREMENT. The Illinois Supreme Court requires parents to attend mediation if every detail of custody and visitation is not agreed upon. As such, most parenting agreements require mediation before returning to court for custody or visitation problems. It is best for the parents to try to settle the problems outside of the courtroom to potentially avoid court costs, attorney's fees, and further damage to the parent's relationship. Some judges will dismiss custody and visitation petitions if the parties have not attended or at least requested mediation prior to filing the petition.
ADDITIONAL PROVISIONS. A parenting agreement is similar to a contract and any additional provisions the parents agree upon can be included. Examples of such are:
Consumption of alcoholic beverages
Consumption of illegal drugs
Ability of a parent to have overnight guests of the opposite sex unless the person lives with the parent or is married to the parent
Prohibited babysitters or daycare providers
Persons with whom the child/children may no have contact with
Right to have the child before the child/children is taken to daycare