When you and your spouse decide to get a divorce, there are a large number of decisions that need to be made about the various areas of your family’s lives that will be affected by your split. Perhaps most important for parents of young children is determining how to allocate parental responsibilities. A divorce can be a time of uncertainty for your children, but a strong parenting plan will help them succeed and ensure that both parents play an active role in their lives after the divorce.
What Is a Parenting Plan?
A parenting plan is an agreement between parents detailing how their children will be cared for after the divorce. This plan is an official part of the divorce decree, and it can help make the transition into post-divorce life as seamless as possible for a child as he or she adjusts to living in two homes and dividing time between parents.
A parenting plan should cover parenting time (visitation) schedules, specify how decisions about the health and well-being of the child will be made, and address any special circumstances that suit your family’s unique needs. Here are some tips for creating a successful parenting plan:
Make it a Priority: During the divorce process, your parenting plan should be one of the first things completed. This ensures that your child’s well-being is put above all else and that their care is fully thought out. Creating and implementing a workable plan allows children to begin adjusting to their new circumstances even before the divorce is finalized.
Put Your Children First: During a divorce, it is easy to get carried away with the emotions that you are feeling about your spouse and the changes to your life. However, regardless of how you feel, the needs of your children should be put first. Do your best to avoid putting your children in the middle of conflicts or talking negatively to them about the other parent. You may not love your partner anymore, but they will always be your child’s parent, so do not let your feelings get in the way of a healthy parental relationship.
Communicate: Strong communication between you and your former spouse will benefit your children the most, so you may wish to make sure your parenting plan specifies how you will notify each other about your children’s needs or resolve future disputes. If there is something you are not comfortable with while creating the parenting plan, speak up. This will prevent these issues from coming up down the road after the plan is in place and has become legally enforceable. Ideally, the parenting plan should be there to help avoid future tension between divorced parents, rather than to create new ones.
Contact a St Charles, IL Family Law Attorney
Knowing what to include in a parenting plan is challenging, and the help of a legal advocate can ensure that you meet the legal requirements while addressing anything that affects your parental rights. The experienced Kane County divorce lawyers at Goostree Law Group can help you create a plan that protects your children’s best interests. Call 630-584-4800 for a free consultation.