If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, your primary concerns will relate to the welfare of your children.
Helping them adjust to a post-divorce world will require teamwork and an effective parenting time agreement.
Making quality time
In the state of Illinois, parental responsibility breaks down into legal custody, regarding who has the power to make major decisions for the children, and physical custody, which refers to the parent the child will primarily live with. Courts encourage shared decision-making and for the child to spend as much quality time as possible with both parents.
The parenting time schedule
A schedule is part of a parenting plan and should speak to time spent with the child on weekdays, weekends, holidays, vacations, school breaks and special occasions. The standard schedule is a 4-3 rotation in which one parent has physical custody of the child four days a week while the other parent has three days. The next week, the schedule flips. Holidays and vacations will, of course, disrupt the routine. In Illinois, the recommendation is for holiday scheduling to have first priority followed by school breaks. Parents must collaborate about vacation time and determine how that will best work for all concerned.
A negotiated settlement
More than enough evidence exists to show that the stress and bitterness of litigation can adversely affect the bond between divorced parents and their children. If you and your soon-to-be-ex can negotiate a settlement out of court that includes workable parenting time, your children will reap the benefits. Well-intentioned teamwork based on open communication will establish a foundation on which you and your children can build a respectful and lasting relationship.