Out of all the issues that divorcing couples must decide on, the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time can often be the most difficult. Even in the “friendliest” of divorces, child custody decisions can become heated. This is why it is important to have a skilled DuPage County family law attorney working for you when drawing up a balanced parenting plan agreement.
Although it may seem impossible to be proactive for every situation that may come up, there is a range of decisions that you and the other parent will want to make sure you address in order to avoid serious parenting disagreements in the future. These topics include:
- Parenting schedule – The parenting schedule should clarify how much time the child will spend with each parent. The schedule should also spell out clearly who will be responsible for transporting the child for parenting time exchanges. If there are not safety concerns, and both parents get along fairly well, exchanges are usually done at each other's homes. However, if there is too much acrimony between parents, then a neutral location may be better. In cases where safety is a concern, such as when domestic violence has been an issue, then locations such as police departments may be chosen.
- Holidays and other special occasions – Parents will need to decide where the child spends occasions such as holidays, birthdays, and school vacations. It may be a good idea as you are negotiating your parenting plan to schedule out several years in advance.
- Vacations – Another decision that should be addressed is how much advanced time does one parent need to let the other parent know regarding any vacation or travel plans he or she is making with the children, as well as the details of those plans.
- Change of schedule – As hard as you may try to stick to a set schedule, the reality is that “life happens” and sometimes that schedule needs to change. Your parenting plan should address how much advance notice each of you will need to give to each other, as well as how the two of you will communicate those changes with each other. Additionally, what happens if there is not enough time for advance notice? How will those changes be handled?
- Expenses other than child support – The purpose of child support is to provide the basic needs of the child. Extracurricular activities, medical insurance, field trips, summer camp, and school supplies are extra expenses not typically included under child support expenditures. It may be unfair to expect one parent to have to cover all those expenses, so a parenting plan should address how those expenses will be shared.
If you are going through a divorce and will be negotiating child custody issues with your spouse, you need to consult a skilled DuPage County divorce attorney. Call Roscich & Martel Law Firm, LLC at (630) 793-6337 for a confidential consultation.