Parents who divorce have several important decisions to make. If they choose to share custody, they must decide how decisions about their child’s upbringing will be made and who will care for the child when. They must also address how any future modifications to their parenting plan will be handled, what to do if a parent cannot fulfill their parenting time obligation, and several other concerns. As you write your parenting plan, keep the following tips in mind.
Work Collaboratively on the Parenting Plan, If Possible
If it is possible, it is generally preferred for parents to write the parenting plan together. If parents can reach an agreement about the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time schedule, and the other components of the parenting plan, they may be more likely to comply with those terms. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. If parents cannot agree, the court may need to step in and make a decision on the unresolved issues for the parents.
Include More Than the Bare Minimum
Illinois law spells out exactly what must be addressed in a parenting plan. The two main components are the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. However, parents should include as much information as they can. You may want to include additional information about how parents will handle:
Parenting time on holidays, vacations, birthdays, and special events
Where the child will be dropped off and picked up
How much involvement grandparents or other family members will have in the child’s life
The types of discipline methods parents will and will not utilize
Limits on the child’s screen time or internet use
When a parent will introduce the child to a boyfriend or girlfriend
How the parents will communicate schedule changes or child-related concerns
What the child’s bedtime or curfew will be
How much allowance the child will get
Addressing these questions now can help parents avoid disagreements in the future. It also provides the child with stability and consistency – two things experts say children need after a divorce.
Ask for Help
Drafting a parenting plan is not easy. Parents have strong opinions when it comes to their children and parents often disagree about the parenting plan elements. You may want to consider using family law mediation to discuss the parenting plan and explore various options. Alternatively, your lawyer can help you negotiate the terms of the parenting plan.
Contact a Crystal Lake Child Custody Lawyer
If you are getting divorced and you need help with child custody concerns, contact the knowledgeable McHenry County parenting plan attorneys at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC. Call 815-338-3838 for a free consultation.