970 McHenry Avenue, Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC

Call Today for Your FREE Consultation

Call Us800-338-3833 | 815-338-3838

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in parenting plan

McHenry County family law attorneyWhen a family court judge must decide how parental responsibilities (formerly known as child custody) must be allocated, that decision is always based on what arrangement will be in the child’s best interests. Many parents going through this process are unsure of what the court will be looking for in order to determine their children’s best interests. The following is a brief overview. For a more detailed explanation and how the best interest standard may apply in your situation, contact Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC.

Factors that Contribute to a Child’s Best Interests

The child’s best interests are an important factor when the court decides how parenting time and parenting responsibilities will be shared between the two parents. In many cases, it is in the child’s best interests if the two parents share custody equally, although that is not always possible given the location of each parent or their relationship with each other. There may also be issues where one parent should not have significant parenting time. Here is a closer look at what factors the courts will consider:

  • Child’s needs and adjustment to their current routine - The court will seek to ensure that the parenting arrangement provides for a child’s care needs and minimizes changes to their school and extracurricular activity routines.

    ...

Crystal Lake parenting plan attorneyA divorce will certainly shake up your home life, but this does not necessarily mean that it will continue to do so over time. With this in mind, it is important to create an agreement that is long-lasting, rather than temporary, especially in situations where children are involved. Everyone needs some sense of stability and routine in their day-to-day lives, even those who thrive under spontaneity, and psychologists believe having a stable routine offers many benefits for children. Parents should do everything possible to offer their children a stable environment when creating a parenting arrangement after their marriage ends.

Steady Routines Promote Future Success

Routine is not just about going to bed at the same time every day or eating dinner together as a family every night. The most important thing you can do for your child is to provide as much stability as possible throughout the day. Psychologists suggest that when a schedule is predictable, children can relax and trust in their environment. Even in a situation where a child visits two homes regularly, the daily routine should not change significantly. The details may be different in each parent’s home, but the routine should remain consistent in each environment. Such routines also include knowing which days and holidays a child may expect to see each parent.

How to Create a Parenting Plan That Works

One of the most important things to remember is that children need significant time with both of their parents to create a bond. Studies show that children who have equal or close to equal amounts of time with each parent go on to have more stability in their lives as adults. Therefore, it is usually in your children’s best interests to make a co-parenting arrangement that prioritizes time with both parents, and maintain it by not skipping visits or shorting the other parent of their allotted parenting time.

...

Creating a Parenting Plan That Enables CooperationIf you have a high-conflict relationship with your co-parent after your divorce, a well-crafted parenting plan can help you better cooperate in raising your children. Conversely, a poorly crafted parenting plan can create conflict in an amicable co-parenting relationship and make a high-conflict relationship even worse. Your parenting plan will determine important issues such as how you will divide your parenting time and who is able to make decisions about how to raise your children. If you are unsure whether your parenting plan could cause conflict, you can ask the following questions:

  1. Does the Parenting Plan Put Your Children’s Needs First?: You make a parenting plan with your children’s best interests in mind. Parents sometimes make the mistake of thinking that what is best for them is also best for their children. For instance, you may want a parenting schedule that gives you an equal amount of time with your children, but such a schedule may force them to switch between homes several times a week, which can be stressful for them. In this situation, what is best for your children may be different from what is best for you.
  2. Does Your Parenting Schedule Consider Special Situations?: It is rare for divorced parents to stick to the same schedule every week of the year. You may need to deviate from your schedule for holidays, vacations, and other special circumstances that conflict with your normal schedule. Your parenting plan should anticipate special situations by creating an alternate schedule for holidays and vacations and explaining when you are allowed to make a one-time change to your schedule because of an unexpected conflict.
  3. How Clear Are the Instructions in the Plan?: Conflict can happen in a parenting plan when the co-parents disagree on what the plan allows. Who is responsible for dropping off or picking up the kids when they are switching homes? When are you required to get permission before making a decision about your children? Who will pay for expenses that are not covered by child support? If your parenting plan does not clearly answer questions such as this, you should talk to your co-parent about it before the plan is legally approved.

Contact a Crystal Lake, Illinois, Divorce Lawyer

A well-crafted parenting plan should provide a structure for co-parents to follow while allowing some flexibility to make sure that the plan is always serving the children’s best interests. It can be difficult to balance the structure and flexibility, and co-parents with a high-conflict relationship may need more structure in their plan than other parents. A McHenry County divorce attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, will work with you on crafting a strong parenting plan. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.

Source:

...

Should You Be Flexible with Your Parenting Plan?A parenting plan is a detailed outline that divorced parents use to determine how they will share their responsibility for their children. It can take great effort to create a parenting plan, particularly if the parents disagree on how to divide parenting time and raise the children. Once you have hammered out and approved a parenting agreement, does that mean you should never deviate from it? There are some situations when being flexible is best for your children and beneficial to you and your co-parent. In other situations, it is important to defend the integrity of the plan.

When to Be Flexible

Co-parents sometimes discover that they need to adjust their parenting plan because it is not working the way they intended. You need to request a modification of your parenting plan in court if you want to make a permanent change to the plan. What if you have an unusual situation in which deviating from your parenting plan this one time makes the most sense? This most often occurs with parenting time schedules, such as when:

  • A parent is not available during their normal parenting time
  • A child’s schedule temporarily conflicts with parenting time
  • An emergency occurs and a parent needs someone to look after the children

It is impractical to go to court for every one-time change in your parenting plan. Instead, you and your co-parent should discuss how you can temporarily adjust your parenting plan to fit your unusual circumstance. Your parenting agreement can even state that you will allow changes to the plan for isolated situations as long as both sides agree to it.

...

Should Divorced Parents Share a Child’s Birthday Party?A child’s birthday is a special event for the entire family, but divorced parents are often unsure whether they should still celebrate it together. Parents want their child to enjoy the party, and tension between the divorced parents could ruin the event. You should each have your own birthday party for your child if you have a hostile relationship with your co-parent. A parenting plan can determine which of you hosts the child on his or her birthday each year, and the other parent can hold a celebration on another day. If your relationship is amicable, you should still consider whether a shared celebration would be best for your child:

  1. What Does Your Child Want?: Do not assume that your child would prefer you both at the same celebration. Seeing you together after the divorce may be uncomfortable, and your child may be excited to have two birthday parties. If old enough to decide, you should ask your child what he or she would prefer. Make sure you do not frame the question as choosing between parents. Present it as two equally fun options.
  2. Could Your Child Misinterpret You Being Together?: A younger child may have difficulty understanding why you chose to divorce and whether it is permanent. Celebrating a birthday as a family may give him or her false hope that you are getting back together. It may be better for your child to have separate birthday parties during the first few years after your divorce so as not to confuse him or her about your relationship.
  3. Do You Get Along with Your Former In-Laws?: It is common for your extended family to want to participate in birthday celebrations, particularly with younger children. You may have an amicable relationship with your co-parent, but your relationship with his or her parents may be different. You should also consider whether your own family gets along with your co-parent and his or her family. It may be best to keep the families separate, whether that means having separate parties or limiting the family members who can attend.
  4. Where Will You Hold the Party?: It could be awkward to attend a party at your co-parent’s home or to host your co-parent at your own home. A simple solution would be to pick a neutral site for the party, such as a park, restaurant, or recreational facility.

Contact a McHenry County Divorce Attorney

It is important to continue to celebrate special events with your children, but fitting it into your parenting schedule can be difficult. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, divorce attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can create a schedule that allows you to spend holidays and birthdays with your children. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

Source:

...
Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
Back to Top