If parents in Illinois have joint physical custody after a divorce, they may face a number of challenges. According to studies, when parents cooperate and are respectful toward one another and in control of their emotions, shared custody tends to work well.
Parents can achieve this by focusing on the well-being of their children. This includes each keeping their feelings about their ex-spouse to themselves. Just because someone was not a good spouse does not mean they cannot parent effectively, and parents may need to accept their approaches to the job as different without either being worse than the other. Parents should carefully choose the conflicts they pursue and try to let things go if possible. It is best to try to resolve issues without going back to court.
Having an effective communication plan can help with these issues and with creating and maintaining a custody schedule, which may need to be reviewed and changed over time. Children might want some input. When they are younger, schedules that allow them to see each parent more frequently tend to work better. As they get older, changing households weekly or a similar schedule may work. It can be tempting to try to grab as much time as possible, but when creating the custody schedule, parents should take their own commitments into account.
During divorce negotiations, parents might also want to create a parenting plan with the assistance of their attorneys that addresses any major issues they are concerned about, such as when the child meets a parent’s new partners. If changes in circumstances necessitate a modification of a custody or support order, even if parents agree informally on the change, ensuring that they make the change legally binding can offer protection for both them and their children if one parent does not uphold the new agreement.