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3 kinds of decisions that can cause co-parenting conflicts

On Behalf of | May 13, 2024 | Family Law |

There’s an expectation that when adults divorce or separate in Illinois, they must share responsibility for their children. One parent may need to provide financial assistance in the form of child support. Adults typically also have to divide parental rights and responsibilities or ask a judge to make those choices on their behalf.

The courts can award each parent a certain amount of parenting time and also a degree of decision-making authority. Illinois family law judges typically operate under the assumption that shared arrangements are optimal for the children and the family. Parents may initially resent the reduction in time with their children and the need to cooperate to make decisions, but most parents eventually find a way to work together.

They may still occasionally find themselves embroiled in disputes when they have to handle certain parenting matters. For example, the three types of choices below are among the most likely to trigger conflict between parents sharing rights and responsibilities for minor children in Illinois.

Medical decisions

Children often struggle to make decisions based on their own long-term best interests. A grade school child, for example, might decline immunizations based on fear of the temporary pain a shot generates. Parents have to make decisions that reflect the long-term health and well-being of their children. They may disagree about what types of medical interventions are necessary or appropriate. From psychological counseling to surgical interventions, there are many kinds of treatment that could lead to parents disagreeing about a child’s medical support.

Educational decisions

Parents choose what schools their children should attend. They either give permission for extracurricular activities or withhold it depending on the circumstances. Parents may find themselves disagreeing about when their children are old enough to participate in sports or whether homeschooling is appropriate when a child experiences intense bullying in class. Parents may have very different perspectives on the same issue and may find themselves fighting intensely over a child’s educational and extracurricular endeavors.

Choices about social opportunities

Parents choose what types of socialization their children enjoy. From overnight visits with close friends to dating, a young adult’s social enrichment largely depends on the permission of their parents. Parents may find themselves disagreeing about everything from when their children can join social media platforms to whether attending parties without an adult present is appropriate for a high school student.

Parents may want to add rules about specific family concerns to their parenting plans or negotiate terms for decision-making authority that may give one adult the final say on certain issues. Realizing that decision-making can often be a challenging element of shared custody can help parents better prepare for the reality of sharing parental rights and responsibilities effectively.