While getting a fair division of your assets is probably important to you, your foremost concern during your divorce is most likely your children. As traumatic and confusing as divorce is for the adults involved, you can only imagine how your children are feeling. You want to make the transition as painless as you can, but maybe you are worried about the way the courts will rule in the areas of child custody and child support.
With new laws coming into effect this summer, you may be wondering if there is a better way to determine how your family will operate after the divorce.
Factors to consider
One change the new law is bringing involves a more equitable share in parenting. Instead of submitting to a formulaic custody agreement, the court may encourage — even order — you and your spouse to make a parenting plan together. Many families find this much more conducive to the unique nature of their families and beneficial to the well-being of their children.
Some of the factors parents consider as they create a parenting plan include the following:
- A schedule of the days and times the children will spend in each home, including transportation or meeting arrangements
- A plan for holidays, birthdays and other special occasions so the children have equitable time with both parents for these events
- Agreement over vacations and trips, including where, when, how and how long the children will be away and how much notice you and your co-parent will need before taking trips
- Stipulations about how extended family will fit into the agreed upon parenting times
- A plan for dealing with changes in the agreement
There are many other considerations to include in your parenting plan, but the important matter is to create a plan that works well in your situation and remains flexible enough to accommodate the normal changes in life.
Help along the way
If it is becoming clear that your marriage is going to end, you certainly want to ensure that you don’t give up control of your choices, especially concerning your children. Approaching the delicate balance of co-parenting with a plan in hand may provide you with a better chance of maintaining a solid relationship with your children than you would have if the courts determined your schedule. If you are able to work this out with your spouse, you may have a good start to fair and equitable co-parenting that often provides a smoother transition for children of divorce.
Whether you and your spouse can come to terms or you are unable to find common ground, the advice of an attorney will prove invaluable. You will likely find it comforting to have an advocate with experience and knowledge of family court laws in Illinois. Your attorney will guide you through mediation or fight for your rights if your case moves to litigation.