Generally speaking, it is easier for Illinois parents to create effective parenting plans when they are willing to communicate with each other. It is also important to take the needs of the child into account when doing so. For instance, a baby or toddler may want or need to spend more time with one parent than the other. Once a child is old enough to start school, it may be appropriate to allow extended visits with a noncustodial parent.
For a young child, an extended visit may simply be a few hours during the day or spending the night at a parent’s house. Teenagers generally have less structured lives, which can make a parenting plan challenging. However, it is important to consider their social and academic needs when creating the parenting plan. Parents should also understand that a child will likely need time to deal with life after a divorce regardless of how old they are when it happens.
The parents themselves should strive to design a plan that creates stability in a child’s life. Of course, mothers and fathers are also encouraged to be as flexible as possible when implementing a new agreement. Depending on how old a son or daughter is, it may be a good idea to include him or her in the process of creating the plan.
Issues related to child custody/allocation of parenting responsibilities may be resolved through mediation or litigation. A legal professional might be able to represent an individual regardless of where or how a case is decided. While parents may create custody or visitation plans on their own, those plans must typically be approved by a judge. This ensures that the agreement is in the best interests of the children both now and in the future.