Tips on drafting a successful parenting plan

Tips on drafting a successful parenting plan

After the dissolution of a relationship, a parenting plan establishes in writing the management of each parent’s rights and responsibilities toward the child. The primary purpose of the plan is to guarantee the right of the child to contact with each of the parents, so the plan should be drafted with the best interests of the child based on age, educational needs, safety and other factors. Communication is key, and cooperating on the details often helps parents to shape the new relationship they are entering as co-parents in separate households.

Resolving custody issues

Custody issues are often a point of contention in a divorce. School and work schedules and the availability of support systems are primary factors in creating a fair plan for physical custody of the child. One parent may get more time in the summer or other school breaks to compensate for less time during the school year. The most important point is to give the child the opportunity to live and bond with each parent.

Even when parents are unable to work out a schedule that is fifty-fifty, they may agree to share legal custody equally. This involves the decision-making process over what is best for the child. Other legal custody issues include medical care, education and religion, to name a few. Addressing physical and legal custody concerns in the parenting plan helps to avoid conflict later in the relationship.

Determining the best visitation schedule for the child

Children feel more secure when there is structure and they know what to expect, and this is especially true in the new circumstances. The transfer of child custody is easier for everyone involved when as many details as possible are in the plan, including the following:

  • Visitation start and end times
  • Transportation specifics
  • Holidays, birthdays and other special days
  • Vacations

The transfer is often smoother if the parents choose a neutral location to meet, and this also keeps the parent who is picking up the child from interrupting a special activity or moment between the other parent and the child.

Agreeing on child support

In Illinois, child support is based on a number of factors, including child custody, the number of children in the family, who provides the child’s health insurance and the incomes of both parents. To help further ensure that the child’s needs are met, parents should consider how to divide expenses such as extra-curricular activities and social events, as well.

Parents who draft a successful parenting plan make the transition to the new situation easier on the child. When there is too much contention between the parents, they can benefit from the help of an attorney experienced in helping parents create a plan that provides for the child’s best interests.

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