Courtney ∙ Clark Law, P.C.Courtney ∙ Clark Law, P.C.
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Working with your ex to create a parenting plan

When it comes to creating a parenting plan after a divorce, you have two choices. You can give control of this precious situation to the courts, or you can work out a suitable plan with your ex. As distasteful as it may sound to negotiate with your spouse, it may be the best way to arrive at a plan that is suitable for you and in the best interests of your children.

Since you and your spouse are the ones who know the way your family operates, you may be in the best position to create a plan that provides the children with a fair balance of time with each parent while considering the most convenient options for dealing with conflicts. While convenience is certainly not the priority, it may help you and your spouse in the long term if you consider all the necessary factors when discussing your plan.

The basics of a plan

Making a parenting plan is more than just scheduling who will have the children when. You and your ex will have to consider any special needs your children may have, such as their abilities to adjust to change and their need for discipline and structure. A judge will not know these things about your children, so you can take advantage of this to create a unique plan. You may even want to include the children as you work through the schedule. They can help you weigh matters such as:

  • School holidays
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Pick-up and drop-off time
  • Preferences for weekends and school nights
  • Transportation to and from each parent's house

You and your ex will have much to decide, including factors as basic as where you will live in proximity to each other to make the custody program as stress-free for the children as possible.

Cooperation is key

The focus of your parenting planning sessions should be on the well-being of your children. This is not the time to exact revenge on your ex by making his or her parenting time as inconvenient as possible or to keep a tally of the number of sacrifices you make for the plan compared to your ex's sacrifices. If the planning becomes a competition, no one will win, and you may lose your chance to create a unique schedule that could last for many years.

You may find it is helpful to seek the guidance of an attorney as you work through the difficult and delicate issues in your parenting plan. An Illinois attorney can offer guidance as well as ensure your parental rights are protected through every step of your custody dispute.

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Courtney ∙ Clark Law, P.C.
104 South Charles Street
Belleville, IL 62220

Toll Free: 866-921-8767
Phone: 618-207-3458
Fax: 618-234-8028
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