Shared child custody is the subject of many discussions nationwide, including in Illinois. Some believe that the frequent back-and-forth traveling between parents in joint parenting arrangements cause disruption, anxiety and insecurities in children. Others are of the opinion that children of divorces benefit in various ways from having equal access to both their parents — even if in two different residences. Although this is not the ideal solution for all post-divorce families, it is worth considering for those who can maintain amicable relationships with their exes.
A factor that seems to benefit joint parenting arrangements is the distance between the residences of the two parents. If the proximity allows children to maintain the same friends and take part in their usual activities, regardless of the parent with whom they are staying, acceptance of their new circumstances seems to be easier. Another aspect that has proved to create a strong foundation for children that grow up to be well-adjusted is the manner in which rules and punishment are handled. If parents have the same sets of rules and punishments that are observed in both residences, children cannot play parents against each other.
Regardless of how parents share parenting time, it is not uncommon for both parents, along with their new partners, to support kids at school plays, sports activities and other events. One parent may have the children on Monday and Tuesday, while the other parent gets them on Thursday and Friday, with alternating weekends, while other families may prefer to have them for alternate weeks from Monday to Sunday. Whichever schedule is chosen, it is important for it to be consistent without constant changes to the schedules.
Although joint parenting may suit many divorced families in Illinois, it may be challenging for some. However, support and guidance from an experienced family law attorney are available. If necessary, the help of a mediator can also be utilized to draft a parenting plan that will accommodate the wishes of all. Birthdays, holidays, summer vacations and more can be allocated in a manner that will be in the best interests of the children.
Source: life.familyeducation.com, “Sharing Joint Custody“, Accessed on May 1, 2016