When parents in Illinois who are getting a divorce must determine a schedule for joint custody, the child’s age should be one of the main factors they take into consideration. The schedule should be reviewed as children get older. Many experts say it is best for younger children to see each parent more frequently, so a 2-2-3 schedule, in which the child sees one parent for two days, the other for the next two days and the first for three days before the schedule then flips may work well. For older children, a 2-2-5 schedule or a schedule of alternating weeks might be a good one.
Parents should be realistic about their own schedules and focus on what is best for their children. While they should ultimately select the schedule that is in their child’s best interest, older children might want some input into the process. Parents should not badmouth one another and should keep in mind that the failure of the marriage does not mean either of them will be a bad parent. It is important for children to understand that both parents love them and to spend time with both parents.
The right communication method, which might be tools specifically designed for divorced parents to communicate about custody, can help. Parents should also be choosy about which conflicts they choose to pursue.
Attorneys can help parents negotiate an agreement for child custody instead of turning to litigation, and this can be less stressful and expensive than going to court. An attorney can also help a parent prepare to go to family law court if necessary. While negotiation may help lay the groundwork for a healthy co-parenting relationship after divorce, parents can still work together effectively even if they have had to go to court to resolve any differences about custody or support.