sad little girl

In Illinois, divorced parents with shared custody are often ordered by the court to come up with a plan that outlines how much time their children will spend with each parent. A child custody attorney in Chicago knows that it is not always easy to create a schedule, but it can be done when parents are willing to work together for the benefit of their children.

Many experts agree that it is best for children to have as much stability in their lives as possible. Author and psychologist JoAnne Pedro-Carroll, Ph.D., suggests that parents should strive to cooperate in drafting a custody schedule that can help their children adjust to the new instability in their lives. When coming up with a schedule, parents should remember that it is in the best interest of their children to have as much time with each parent as can be worked out.

Make it age appropriate

Some parents forget that their visitation plan is not about the adults, but about the children. A child custody attorney in Chicago understands that the plans that work best for children should be age appropriate and should take into account the specific needs of all children involved. Younger children may benefit from a schedule that has more frequent transitions. For example, toddlers often do well when they spend a couple days at their mother’s house, a couple days at their father’s house and the weekend with alternating parents each week. Older children, on the other hand, may need a little bit more stability when they have set schedules for obligations outside of the home.

Take holidays and vacations into account

A good visitation schedule should take holidays and vacations into considerations, in addition to the regular weekday and weekend schedule. To keep the plan as fair as possible, parents should try to split up all major holidays and breaks from school equally. If possible, parents should come up with an arrangement that allows both parties to have equal time with their children on birthdays or other important days. On Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and the birthday of each parent, children should spend the entire day with the parent being celebrated.

Review the schedule periodically

Children grow and their needs change over time, so parents should be willing to make adjustments when needed. The needs of the parents may also change, and it is important to take each party’s wants into account. A child custody attorney in Chicago may be able to help parents come up with a schedule that is beneficial to the children, but also meets the needs of both parents.