What to Keep in Mind For Your Parenting Agreement

 Posted on January 10, 2024 in Child Custody

IL family lawyerGoing through a separation or divorce can be an enormously difficult transition, especially when children are involved. Despite the challenges, establishing a comprehensive, well-thought-out parenting agreement upfront is one of the most important things you can do as co-parents to protect your kids’ best interests. An Illinois family lawyer can help you with your agreement.

Define Custody Arrangements Up Front

Clearly defining custody arrangements up front is crucial for minimizing confusion and conflict down the road. Illinois law provides for joint custody or sole custody awards. Be explicit in your parenting plan about who holds decision-making authority and responsibility over matters like health, education, religion, and other major areas of the children’s lives. 

The plan should also detail exact physical custody schedules, including days, holidays, and vacation time the kids will spend with each parent. Strive for consistency and predictability. You may also want to address the right of first refusal, requiring parents to offer the other parent additional time with the kids before using babysitters if plans fall through.

Address Potential Relocation

Given the size of Illinois, it is common for one parent to move after a separation. Your parenting plan should set clear expectations around providing advance notice before moving and detail how the visitation terms and transportation responsibilities would change post-move. Some agreements restrict moving beyond a certain mileage radius as well. Discussing potential relocation scenarios early allows you to plan appropriately if someone does want to move.

Consider Special Situations

Think through unique factors of your situation, like long distances between parents, special needs kids, half-siblings, or step-parents that deserve additional provisions catered to your specific circumstances. An attorney can help ensure your agreement meets statutory guidelines but also addresses everything unique to your family.

Specify Dispute Resolution Processes

Disagreements can come up even between cooperative exes, so establish clear dispute resolution processes requiring good faith mediation efforts before returning to court. You can also appoint a neutral third party parenting coordinator to resolve conflicts as they arise rather than letting tensions escalate. If communication has broken down, parallel parenting provisions can limit direct interactions while allowing joint decision input. An attorney can assist with creating smart dispute resolution procedures suitable for your situation.

Contact a Wheaton, IL, Family Law Lawyer

The more issues your parenting agreement addresses explicitly early on, the fewer daily frustrations and smoother co-parenting tend to be for years to come. Working with a DuPage County, IL, family law attorney can help make sure you are forming your agreement properly.

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