Parenting Plans for Successful Co-Parenting
If you are a parent considering divorce, your number one concern is probably about how the divorce will affect your children. Fortunately, there are many good resources for parents planning to divorce. One thing parents should do if they are planning to share custody of their children after the split is create a parenting plan or parenting agreement.
Every Plan is Different
If you are a parent getting divorced in Illinois, the courts will require you to draft and submit a parenting plan. In it, you should define the proposed custody and visitation schedule (technically called allocation of parental rights and parenting time respectively) as well as solidify other parenting decisions. Only the custody and visitation schedule is required, but many experts suggest parents use a court-required parenting agreement as an opportunity to get on the same page regarding the children. Each family is different, so your parenting plan will not look exactly the same as another family’s plan.
What to include in Your Parenting Agreement
Experts suggest that parents consider the following things when they draft their parenting plan:
- Which parent will have the children when (allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time schedules);
- Where the children will spend Christmas, Easter, their birthday, and other special days;
- Who will pick up and drop off the children from school and home;
- What type of extracurricular activities the child will be involved in;
- How much involvement extended family members will have in the child’s life;
- Backup child care for times when both parents are unavailable;
- How parents should handle introducing a new significant other to the children;
- Rules regarding curfews, homework, chores, or behavior;
- How the children will be disciplined;
- Healthcare decisions such as if the children will be vaccinated; and
- Parental expectations regarding religious or cultural events.
Of course, some parenting plans do not include all of these considerations and others contain things not listed here. The most important quality of a parenting plan is that it satisfies the court’s requirements and helps the parents prepare to be cooperative co-parents after the divorce. Parents who choose not to create a parenting plan outlining when each of them will have the children will be forced to follow the court’s parental responsibility decisions and parenting time schedules.
Dedicated Legal Aid for Parents Getting Divorced
At The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates, we know that divorcing with children can be particularly stressful. Our compassionate attorneys have the skills and knowledge to guide you through even the most complicated divorce. To contact one of our experienced Kane County family law attorneys, call 630-232-9700 today.