For divorcing couples with children, the process of divorce is more than just dividing property and assets. Parents must also determine how they will split time with their children. They also have to find a way to work together when it comes to making important decisions about their child’s life and future. This is known as the allocation of parental responsibilities (custody).
Approached with the wrong mindset, the allocation of parental responsibilities can turn into a legal battlefield, full of bitterness and contention. In these instances, a judge may make the decision. However, research has shown that families often fare better if they can find a way to develop their own parenting plan – one that fits the needs of their children and their family. The following will help you understand how to successfully create yours.
Why a Personalized Parenting Plan?
When the allocation of parental responsibilities is litigated in court, there are a number of factors that a judge considers to determine what the best interests of the child are. But you and your spouse know your child better than anyone. You understand their personality and their needs. And you know what your family’s unique circumstances are. A traditional, cookie-cutter parenting plan may work, but it may not be the best option for all involved.
Time with Each Parent is Important
Children are often caught in the middle of divorce. They love both parents. They want to spend time with both parents. But they do not have a lot of say in the changes that are happening in their lives. The more you and your spouse can minimize the change, the better your child is likely to adjust. That means giving your child time to spend with you and your spouse, and ensuring that the time is not full of underhanded comments, parental competition, or continued arguments.
Types of Parenting Plans
Parents who develop their own parenting plan can pick and choose what works best for them and their family. They can do birdnesting, which keeps children in the family home with parents alternating in and out, according to their parenting schedule. They can do co-parenting, which could be set up in almost any way that directly benefits the child and ensures time with each parent. Or, if they are unable to get along, even for the sake of their child, they could choose a parallel parenting plan, which limits parental contact to minimize conflict.
Whatever parenting plan you choose, remember that the decision is based on what is best for your child. Arguments, bitterness, and contention need to be minimized. The relationship with each parent needs to be respected. And the goal should be to successfully raise a happy, healthy child.
How Our Family Law Attorneys Can Help
If you are planning on filing for divorce, Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C., P.C. can help you develop a parenting plan that fits your family’s needs. We can protect the best interest of your child, and we can ensure that you and your spouse have considered all of your options. Contact our Naperville family law attorneys today to learn more. Call us at 630-665-7676.