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Flexible child custody and visitation plans can benefit all

When Illinois couples divorce, resolving all material issues can be challenging. Property division often brings about contention, but is usually over and done with once decisions are made. Conversely, child-related issues never actually get completely resolved because parenting goes on. Even couples who share child custody and visitation equally will likely find that parenting issues will arise as the children's needs change over the years.

For that reason, it simply makes good sense to have professional guidance when drafting a parenting plan. While it must protect the rights of each parent to spend quality time with the children, it must also be focused on the best interests of the children. The most difficult part of this process is making sure it is flexible enough to allow for changing circumstances without jeopardizing the parenting time of one parent and without losing sight of the interests of the children.

An example is a couple who gets divorced when their children are very young. Their arrangement of 50/50 parenting works just fine -- until the children reach school age. If the original parenting plan was drafted in a way that allows no flexibility and the parents cannot reach a new agreement on their own, the parents might have to go back to the family court to get the parenting plan modified. However, that takes the decision-making away from them and puts it into the hands of a judge who is unfamiliar with the dynamics of the family.

The bottom line is that the parents might not like the orders of the court. Instead of going this route, it may benefit all if the parents, alongside their respective legal counsel, work out an amicable way in which the parenting plan can be modified without going to court. In fact, they could even revisit the entire child custody and visitation plan from time to time to make sure the arrangements remain in the best interests of the children.

Source: nj.com, "Should I fight ex over custody for older kids?", Karin Price Mueller, Sept. 7, 2017

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Courtney, Clark & Mejias, P.C.
104 South Charles Street
Belleville, IL 62220

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