Parents sometimes try to work out issues of parental responsibility and time sharing informally amongst themselves without going through the court system. While this may work well for some parents for a long time without any problems, for others, after a period of cooperation, the parents may no longer be able to abide by their informal agreement. When this happens, the parents may have to go to court in order to get a formal parenting agreement.
Informal parenting agreements and child support orders are not enforceable through the courts. This means that even though the parents have come to an agreement as to which parent will have majority parental responsibility and how time sharing will work if there is a disagreement, the parents have no way of forcing each other to abide by the informal agreement. For example, if the parents were never married and the father is not listed on the child’s birth certificate, the father will have a difficult time asking for police assistance to get the child from the mother if the mother refuses to continue allowing the father to see the child.
Therefore, even in cases where the parents have a good relationship, it is important to formalize any parenting agreement in court with a court order. This helps protect everyone involved. A court order would also establish the amount that would be paid in child support and keep a parent from overpaying or underpaying a monthly amount in child support.
Going to court does not mean that the parents will be stuck with a parenting plan that does not reflect their prior agreements. Courts in Illinois can enter a court order that is based on the parent’s previous agreement. The court may have to make certain adjustments to ensure that the calculations for child support are within the limits allowed by law. However, the court may refuse to honor the parent’s parenting agreement if the court finds that it is not in the best interests of the child.
Sometimes if a parent files for time sharing and child support after the parents’ relationship becomes contentions, the court can look to a previous informal agreement on time sharing and parental responsibility to see how much time the parents previous handled time sharing. While this would not be the final word on how the court would rule on these issues, it can affect the court’s decision.
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Formalizing a parenting plan does not mean that the parents have to fight about issues they previously agreed to when it comes to raising their children. For more information on how to protect yourself and your children by formalizing a parenting agreement, you need to contact an experienced Naperville child custody and visitation attorneys at the Roscich & Martel Law Firm, LLC today.