Dealing with a failing marriage may lead you to seek a divorce. While some divorce proceedings proceed forward with little conflict, others can become contentious. Some of the most polarizing issues Rockford couples face as they divorce have to do with children. Some of the most well-intentioned proceedings may become bitter quickly in the face of dividing custody and calculating support. How can you move forward and prepare yourself to co-parent after divorce? Preparation is key in getting yourself and your children better adjusted.
Create an Effective Parenting Plan
Illinois courts require all divorcing parents to create a parenting plan. This document is the written agreement detailing how you and your spouse intend to parent moving forward. There are several issues to discuss, including how you will decide the following:
- Extracurricular activities
Along with these categories, the parenting plan also contains a schedule that sets out the children’s time with each parent. Parents with joint legal custody do not necessarily have equal parenting time. Regardless of how time is split, one parent is designated as the primary either because they have more parenting time or their home address is chosen for school zoning purposes.
Focus on the Children
An effective parenting plan focuses on the children. You and your spouse should consider what will work best for your children. Agreeing on a joint parenting plan demonstrates a willingness to communicate and compromise with the other parent, something a Rockford family court judge wants to see. It shows you are putting the best interests of the children first. However, if a joint agreement is not submitted, you and your spouse will file separate plans. The judge will then consider both and either create one or adopt one as a court order.
Maintain a Civil Relationship
One of the most important things you can do to ensure your children’s transition post-divorce is to maintain a civil relationship with the other parent. Even after a difficult court proceeding, you must control your personal feelings towards your former spouse. Making negative comments or telling your children all you feel is wrong with their other parent can become toxic and damaging. It can also land you in hot water with the court. As any family lawyer will caution, actively interfering with the relationship between your children and their other parent may spell legal woes post-divorce.
When you feel it is time to file for divorce, consult with a family lawyer. With a court action as sweeping and life-changing as divorce, you will want someone to represent your interests before a Rockford family law judge. Give yourself and your children a firm leg to stand on after divorce.