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Cooperative parenting for divorced parties as school resumes

On behalf of Janet Boyle of Boyle Feinberg Sharma posted in Child Custody on Friday, September 4, 2015.

As Illinois students return to school, the surge in activities can create challenges for many families. Children whose parents are divorced may find it difficult to keep up with activities and studies in light of parenting arrangements that involve time being split between different homes. There may be a need to make some adjustments for this portion of the year. Those beginning the divorce process may want to consider how custody and visitation decisions will affect their children’s success in school and extra-curricular activities.

A common parenting plan involves alternating weekends that the child will spend in each parent’s home. Additionally, these types of plans may include a weeknight in the home of the non-custodial parent. However, equal sharing of parenting time has become more common. In such cases, there may be a need to ensure that school supplies, books, and other important resources are available at each residence. Further, there may need to be a level of flexibility to ensure that unexpected changes in plans are handled gracefully.

Children tend to benefit when both parents agree to a custody plan without the need for the court to intervene. Even if some disagreements arise as a plan is being worked out, it may be possible to avoid court involvement by going through mediation. When disputes can’t be resolved outside of court, both parties may need to submit their recommendations for a judge’s approval.

Because routine and consistency can be crucial for success in school, a child’s academic performance might be negatively affected by parental disputes or a lack of cooperation. If a parent believes that the other party is making things difficult for a child through an unwillingness to be flexible, there might be reason to return to court to re-evaluate the parenting plan and custody arrangements.