A parenting plan is a document created during a divorce that is approved by the court and governs the relationship between parents and their minor children. A parenting plan will describe how parents will handle the allocation of parental responsibility (formerly known as child custody in Illinois) and parenting time (formerly known as visitation).
In a perfect world, parents will work in good faith to reach an agreement on how parental responsibility and parenting time will be allocated between each spouse. In order to reduce the potential for disputes between you and your soon-to-be ex, it is helpful to work with a knowledgeable attorney. Utilizing some of the following tips can also help you create a successful parenting plan:
It is good to discuss your children’s school vacations ahead of time. They will typically have breaks in the winter, spring, and summer. Determining which parent is responsible for taking care of them when they are off school is a good starting point. This may help discussions and enable compromises in other areas of the parenting plan.
Inconsistency affects children more than many parents realize. Because both parents are not around at the same time, and your kids will be dividing time between two homes, it is even more important to try to maintain consistency wherever possible. This can include both parents following the same rules, methods of discipline, and expectations, and your parenting plan can specify how you and your ex will handle communication about these issues. For example, if your child is grounded and cannot watch TV because of something he or she did at your ex’s house, you should respect that punishment and not let them watch television at your home either.
Ask Your Kids for Their Opinion
Granted, this is only an option in certain situations, but if your kids are not too young, they may have input on what they want and need. For example, a teenager might want to stay in the same home during the week when they are attending school. If this is an option, it is important to recognize what your kids need and want too. This can help make the transition easier.
Plan for Future Dating
It is not likely that both parents will stay single forever, which means you will need to figure out how you will handle the introduction of new partners to your children. It is a good idea to discuss this with your ex and set some ground rules you can both agree on when it comes to new significant others.
Do not leave any important details out of your parenting plan. One of the biggest mistakes is drafting a plan that is too vague and leaves room for arguments and confusion. This is one of the reasons why it is helpful to have an Illinois family law attorney assist you with child custody matters.
Contact a Lisle Divorce Lawyer
If you have questions or need assistance with developing a parenting plan, a skilled DuPage County family law attorney can help. At Momkus LLC, we can ensure that your parenting plan contains the necessary elements for success as you and your ex-spouse work together to co-parent your children. Contact us at 630-434-0400 to schedule a consultation.