Matters pertaining to children tend to be some of the most sensitive issues in divorce – and rightfully so. The child’s mental and emotional state, academic performance, and future potential are all at risk. Thankfully, studies show that ample time and continued support from each parent can improve the outcome for children of divorce.
Not sure how to determine how much time each of you should have? Afraid you may be selling yourself (or your child) short? Check out these eight factors and consider them when drafting your Illinois parenting plan for some guidance. Also, learn how a seasoned family law attorney can protect the best interests of both you and your child.
1. Age and Temperament of the Child
While studies suggest that children of all ages can handle overnight stays away from home, infants and toddlers may struggle to adjust in the beginning. Younger, school-aged children may need a consistent and reliable schedule that minimizes stress and allows them to focus on their studies. Older children may have their own preferences regarding where they will live day-to-day, which should also be considered. However, they may not need the same regularity in their schedules as younger kids, so parents may be able to do more frequent exchanges.
2. Any Special Needs the Child May Have
Children who have special needs often rely on consistency. In addition, they may have certain medical, emotional, or educational needs that should be considered in their parenting plan.
3. Your Child’s School and Community Involvement
Your child’s residency status may impact where they will go to school. Parents should consider this carefully when drafting their parenting plan. Additionally, divorcing couples should determine if changes to their permanent address could negatively affect their involvement within the community (i.e. moving the child away from their church family or friends in the neighborhood).
4. Your Child’s Relationship with Siblings and Other Family Members
Familial connections are important for the healthy development of a child. As such, they should be considered when creating your parenting plan. Consider not just siblings and step-siblings, but also any extended family members, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins they may have a connection with.
5. Child and Parental Schedules
There are three schedules that you will want to carefully consider as you draft your parenting plan: yours, your spouse’s, and your child’s. In terms of your child’s schedule, consider their schooling, extracurriculars, and any commitments to their community.
Next, look at how each parent’s schedule might impact their ability to meet the child’s commitments. As an example, you may want a day during the week with your child, but if you work in the evenings and cannot be home with them or take them to their activities, it may be best to reserve your time for the weekend and holidays.
6. Travel Time for Exchanges
If you and your spouse are planning on living in different areas of town (or perhaps even in different towns), you may also want to consider the travel time for any exchanges to be made while drafting your parenting plan.
7. Each Parent’s Ability to Meet the Child’s Needs
Most parents want to protect the best interests of the child, but some are incapable of meeting some or all of their child’s needs. In such situations, the amount of time that a parent spends with their child may be limited to mere hours, rather than days. Abuse or neglect of the child may also result in restricted parenting time.
8. Your Child’s Ability to Adjust to Change
Children do not need to be young or have special needs to struggle with change. Kids of all ages can struggle to cope. If it seems that your child is already having a hard time with the changes coming their way, consider how those issues may impact them in the long run and incorporate your determinations into your version of the parenting plan.
Our Wheaton Family Law Attorneys Can Help with Your Illinois Parenting Plan
With so many factors to consider while drafting a parenting plan, skilled and professional guidance is advised. Davi Law Group, LLC is committed to protecting the best interests of both you and your child. We can help you draft a parenting plan that can meet everyone’s needs. Schedule your no-obligation consultation with our DuPage County family law attorneys to get started. Call 630-580-6373 today.