If you and your spouse have children together, your co-parenting relationship will likely extend even beyond a possible divorce, perhaps for several years into the future depending on your children’s ages. The necessity of co-parenting with your ex-spouse can be a major source of stress, but it does not always have to be difficult. However, there are things you can do both during and after the divorce process to help you and your ex continue to work together effectively for the good of your children.
The first step toward successful co-parenting with your ex is to work together during the divorce process to create a parenting plan that prioritizes the best interests of your children and is manageable for both parents. The two primary components of your parenting plan are parenting time and the allocation of parental responsibilities. Parenting time refers to the time that the children will spend with each parent after the divorce. The court will usually consider a proposed arrangement that both parents have agreed to as long as it provides for the children’s needs and well-being. This means that whenever possible, you and your ex should work together to come up with a fair distribution of time and a reasonable schedule that takes into consideration both parents’ work schedules, the children’s school and activity schedules, the locations of both parents’ homes, and any other relevant factors. Parental responsibilities refer to actions and decisions necessary to provide for your children’s needs, including their regular care, education, health care, and moral upbringing. In many cases, both parents wish to remain involved in all of these important decisions, and your parenting plan can address how you and your ex will work together to share responsibilities.
Even with a thoughtful parenting plan, regular communication with your ex in the years following your divorce will be necessary in order to co-parent effectively. Checking in at least once a week allows you to share any updates or concerns regarding your children’s lives, as well as plan ahead for holidays and other events that may interrupt the regular parenting time schedule. When you do communicate, be sure to focus on your children and avoid heated arguments, especially when your children are present, and consider phone or email communication if face-to-face is too difficult.
At SBK Law Group, we want to help families ensure a positive situation for their children even after a divorce. We can advise you during the negotiation of your parenting plan and help you pursue any necessary order modifications as time goes on and circumstances change. Call our qualified Downers Grove divorce attorneys today at 630-427-4407 to schedule a free consultation.