As an Illinois couple gets divorced and they have children, child custody and visitation orders will always be an issue. In a best-case scenario, they will come to a reasonable agreement by themselves and court intervention will not be needed other than to sign off on the agreement they have cobbled together jointly. However, since the marriage was untenable to the degree that they decided to part ways, those issues can seep into the negotiation for a visitation order and they will not be able to agree.

Knowing what the law says when parents cannot agree on a parenting plan is imperative to both parties to settle the matter satisfactorily. Parents who cannot agree on parenting plan will come to their own agreement within 120 days of their appearance in court. It must be filed and submitted. This can be extended if there is good cause. Once the court has received the divergent parenting plans, it will come to a decision with its focus being on the child’s best interests.

The court can excuse the filing in the following circumstances: if the couple has moved forward with mediation to come up with a parenting plan; if they have agreed in writing that there will be an extension for them to file a plan and the court has agreed to the extension; or if the court orders otherwise when there is good cause to do so.

It is always preferable for parents to agree on the allocation of parental responsibilities if both parties are fit and able to care for the child, can discuss various situations amicably, and keep the child’s best interests at the forefront of the negotiations. When they are trying to come to an agreement on these vital factors, it is not always a smooth process. The state has certain laws in place if the parents cannot agree to a parenting plan but believe they can at some point. For this or any other situation related to family law issues, a law firm that has experience in these cases can help.