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What to Keep in Mind as You Create Your Parenting Plan

 Posted on January 07, 2024 in Child Custody

Il family lawyerIf you are getting divorced and have children, you will need to create a detailed parenting plan outlining custody, visitation, and child-related arrangements. There are some key things to consider when making your parenting plan to set your kids up for success. An Illinois divorce attorney can help you take the proper steps.

Focus on the Children’s Best Interests

Your parenting plan should reflect what is genuinely best for your children’s well-being. Think about their need for love, safety, stability, consistency, and positive influences. Be honest about what custody and visitation setup serves their interests most. Get input from professionals to gain insight into their developmental, physical, and emotional needs at their ages.

Be Clear and Specific

Uncertainty can lead to conflict down the road. Be as detailed, clear, and specific as possible on all custody and visitation terms. Address exact schedules, locations, transportation duties, holidays, and vacations. Think through special occasions like birthdays, performances, and medical issues. You should also tackle decision-making on major issues like health, religion, or education. Specify means of communication and parameters around introducing significant others.

Build in Some Flexibility

While being specific, also build in some flexibility on the arrangements. Life brings up unpredictable situations, so include emergency clauses. Give parameters around the right of first refusal if childcare is needed spontaneously. Have a plan for one parent needing to travel for work or in case of relocation. Accommodate each child’s evolving interests and maturity level over time.

Focus on Joint Decision Making

Where possible, emphasize joint decision-making on major child-related issues like medical procedures, school choice, mental health treatment, or religious upbringing. This maintains both parents’ involvement and reinforces a parenting partnership despite divorce. Exceptions can be made where safety, abuse, or neglect is a concern.

Plan for Potential Changes and Disputes

Hopefully, your parenting plan works well as your children grow. However, anticipate that some details may warrant tweaking, whether because of shifting family dynamics, child development factors, or practical considerations. It is important to build an update process and timeline. Also, agree on a dispute resolution approach like mediation or arbitration. These can resolve disagreements on changes to your plan down the road.

Contact a Naperville, IL, Divorce Lawyer

Getting expert guidance is essential to create a balanced, comprehensive parenting plan reflecting your children’s needs through different life stages. Working with a Will County, IL, divorce attorney can help make sure you make the right moves with your case. Call Law Office of Ronald L. Hendrix, P.C. at 630-355-7776 for a free consultation.

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