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Negotiating a Parenting Plan During Your Divorce

Posted on in Divorce
Negotiating a Parenting Plan During Your DivorceDetermining the allocation of parental responsibilities is often one of the most divisive parts of a divorce. The two sides must determine how they will divide parenting time and decision-making in a way that is in the best interest of their children. If the parents cannot reach an agreement, a judge will decide how to allocate their responsibilities. There are many benefits when divorcing parents can agree on a parenting plan before going to court:

  • They save time and costs associated with court hearings;
  • They better understand their individual needs when creating the plan; and
  • The experience may be less stressful for parents and children than a combative court case.

There are several steps to creating and enacting a parenting plan.

Setting Up Negotiations

Before you can start, you must talk with your spouse to make sure you are both amenable to negotiations. You need to be able to disagree without communications breaking down. Once you have both decided to negotiate, you can choose the format of the meetings:

  • In collaborative negotiations, your attorney will attend to advise you and help craft the plan. However, if your negotiations fail and you seek a court resolution, your collaborative attorney must withdraw from the case.
  • You can hire a mediator to serve as an impartial guide during the negotiations. Mediation requires more direct interaction and negotiation between you and your spouse.

What to Negotiate

In order to create a legally acceptable parenting plan, you must be thorough in covering all of your parental responsibilities. Common responsibilities a plan will decide include:

  • Which residence your children will primarily be living at;
  • How much parenting time each of you will have, along with a schedule;
  • How you will transport your children between each other;
  • Whom your children will spend major holidays with;
  • Which parenting decisions can be made independently from the other parent; and
  • How future disputes about the parenting agreement will be handled.

Getting Approval

Once you have completed your written parenting plan, you must submit it to a court for review. A judge will determine whether:

  • The plan was negotiated in a fair manner;
  • The allocation of parental responsibilities is in the best interest of the children; and
  • You both voluntarily agree to the plan.

If it is approved, the plan will be a binding court order that you both must follow.

Parent Advocates

When negotiating the allocation of parental responsibilities, a family law attorney can advise you on your parental rights and how to create a parenting plan. Contact a McHenry County divorce lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC to discuss your divorce case. Call 815-338-3838 for a free consultation.



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