Are you going through an Illinois divorce? If you have minor children, you must have a court-approved parenting plan approved by the court. Unless your ex has no parental rights due to your unique situation, you both have parenting responsibilities under state law.
According to the State of Illinois, parenting responsibilities includes parenting time and significant decision-making responsibilities about your child’s life. Although no plan can cover every potential situation, here are some tips for creating a parenting plan that works.
Ask what your children want
A parenting plan that involves small children often looks very different from one for teens and pre-teens. If your kids are old enough to make decisions, ask them about their wants and needs. Accepting their decision may be difficult if they want less time with you than your ex. However, giving them a voice in the process makes them feel that they have some control over the situation.
Have realistic expectations
Although you may want more than 50% of your children’s time, it may not be realistic. Consider your schedule, that of your ex and the routine activities of everyone involved. Schedules and needs change as children grow. A plan that includes adequate one-on-one time with your kids may require flexibility and understanding.
Address custody concerns
If you have concerns regarding your children’s safety when they spend time with your ex, make sure you address them with the court. The best interests of the child always come first, and the court typically responds accordingly. Curtailing the other parent’s time with them due to personal issues can backfire in the long run, though.
Begin planning by discussing areas that you both can agree on, such as scheduled school vacation days or primary physician. This can eliminate them as areas of contention and allow you to get a lot done. Every parenting plan is unique. Understanding how the courts view parenting responsibilities and what your children need from you can help smooth the custody and visitation process so that you can move past the divorce.