Parenting after a divorce is complex for most parents to navigate. Most people agree, however, that joint custody tends to have the most benefits for children. When you decide to have joint custody, however, you have to be willing to coordinate with your former partner.
While Illinois refers to joint custody as allocating parental responsibilities, the main characteristic refers to a parenting plan where the child alternates between households.
Filing a parenting plan
Joint custody requires you and your former spouse to file a parenting plan. The parenting plan should be a detailed document that covers who has decision-making authority in various situations regarding the child and should also discuss the time-sharing schedule. The more detail you put into your parenting plan, the more likely you will have fewer fights between you and your spouse. A detailed plan reduces tension and confusion when navigating custody.
Determining parental responsibilities
In joint custody, you can divide your parenting responsibilities or share them. For example, one parent may have legal authority to make all medical and educational decisions or both parents may have to discuss their choices and make them as a unit. If you share responsibilities, you must be able to communicate regularly about your children and their best interests.
Deciding parenting time
Parenting time is a significant consideration during a divorce. Who will take care of the child and provide care for daily needs? Parents with joint custody tend to have equal parenting time, but they have to decide what works with their schedule and will help their children thrive.
Joint custody allows parents to create a plan that works for their family’s needs and can change over time.