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How a Parenting Agreement Can Help You Better Co-Parent After Divorce

Posted on in Child Custody

DuPage County family law attorneyWhen a married couple starts to consider divorce, often one of their main concerns is that the divorce will negatively affect the children. This worry is understandable considering divorce will dramatically change the family dynamics and living arrangements. The good news is that you do not have to go into a post-divorce life blind. There are many resources to help you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse create a parenting agreement or plan which will keep you on the same page about raising your children as divorcees.

Parenting Plans Allow Divorcing Parents to Agree on Child-Rearing Decisions Proactively

In Illinois, divorcing parents who wish to share custody of their children are required to create and submit a parenting plan to the court. The state-mandated requirements for this plan are minimal and experts suggest including more in the agreement than just the bare minimum. Every divorced couple’s parenting agreement will look differently because every family has different needs and challenges. Some couples feel comfortable outlining only a few aspects of how their children will be parented, while others include thorough information about specifics in their parenting plan.

If you are concerned that you and your spouse will struggle to share custody of the children and raise them as co-parents, it is better to be very specific and detailed in your parenting plan. Hashing out decisions like when a child is old enough to get a cell phone now can help prevent arguments or problems later. One of the greatest benefits of a parenting plan is that helps prevent arguments before they arise while also making sure parents are intentional about how they raise their child.

Considerations to Include in Parenting Agreement

Illinois courts require parents sharing custody of children to agree on two things in their parenting plan: the allocation of parental responsibilities (custody) and parenting time (visitation). You and your spouse will need to figure out who will have the children when and who will be the primary custodian. Additionally, experts suggest parents drafting a parenting plan include decisions about:

  • Transportation to and from school or home;
  • Visitation schedules for holidays, birthdays, or other special events;
  • After-school and extracurricular activities;
  • Extended-family visitation;
  • Introducing the children to a new boyfriend or girlfriend;
  • Backup childcare or babysitting;
  • Religious or cultural expectations;
  • Discipline, rules, and misbehavior; and
  • Medical needs.

The most significant characteristic of any parenting plan is that it works for the family creating it. Your plan may look completely different than another family’s, and that is okay. If you have further questions about divorce, co-parenting, parenting plans, custody, or another family law matter, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney at the Pesce Law Group P.C. for assistance. Call 630-352-2240 for a free consultation today.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075000050HPt%2E+VI&ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=8350000&SeqEnd=10200000

https://www.illinoislegalaid.org/legal-information/parenting-plan

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