If you are going through the divorce process and working with your spouse, your respective lawyers, and/or the judge to determine how to allocate parental responsibilities, you will want to give serious thought to the development of an effective parenting plan that protects your children’s best interests while maintaining your rights as a parent. Here are some things to consider when devising such a plan:
How Do You Create the Right Parenting Plan?
The right parenting plan can make things a whole lot easier for everyone, including both parents and children. However, developing a fair parenting plan that is beneficial for everyone involved can be challenging. In fact, parents often cannot agree on the terms of the parenting plan, and the court may need to intervene and make decisions about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, which might not be nearly as beneficial to those involved. In most cases, it is recommended to work with your lawyer and the other parent to create an effective and agreeable parenting plan. When creating your parenting plan, you will want to keep the following issues in mind:
Always Consider Your Children’s Best Interests—You must put yourself in your children’s shoes. With every term you put in the plan, consider how it will affect your children. If you think a certain stipulation will stress your child out or cause undue emotional turmoil, then you will want to rethink its objectives. There could be better ways to achieve the same goals that will not be as traumatic to the children. Also, if your child is particularly mature, you may even want to ask them their opinion. You would be surprised at how good they are at knowing what is in their best interests.
Balance Your Needs and Rights as a Parent with Those of Your Ex-Spouse—While it is true that you will ultimately want what works best for you as a parent, you probably realize that, just as with most marriages, a parenting plan requires compromise. If your ideal plan will put your spouse at a disadvantage, be willing to cooperate with them and make some concessions to get more of what you want. There could be elements of the parenting plan that you do not feel as strongly about—and those very elements could be the ones your spouse has a great passion for. That would be an excellent place to start your negotiations and determine where you are willing to compromise.
Do Not Be Shortsighted—Overall, unless you intend on eventually requesting modification of child custody orders, your parenting plan will dictate how you and the other parent will raise your children together. You must not only consider the needs of you and your children now; you must also plan for the future. How will the decisions you make apply to your children when they are older? What amendments will need to be made to make your parenting plan more relevant to a teenager? What if one or both of you gets remarried or relocates to a new home? While bigger decisions may require a child custody modification, the majority of other concerns can be addressed through nuances in your parenting plan that will allow for adaptation to new circumstances with time.
Contact a DuPage County Parenting Plan Attorney
A lot of thought goes into developing a parenting plan. During your divorce, you need the advice of an attorney who understands what works best for parents, children, and families in general. Contact a Wheaton, IL family law attorney at Andrew Cores Family Law Group by calling 630-871-1002 for a free consultation. We are ready to work with you to develop an effective parenting plan that will meet your family’s needs.