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Posted on in Child Custody

Using Provisions to Strengthen Your Parenting PlanYour parenting agreement is the document that determines your rights and responsibilities as a co-parent, such as when the children will be with each parent and who has the authority to make parenting decisions. However, there are many other aspects of parenting that co-parents need to agree on. Adding provisions to your parenting agreement can clarify how you will raise your children and how you will make decisions with your co-parent.

What Are Provisions?

Provisions refer to the terms of a parenting plan that address decision-making responsibilities and parenting time schedules. It is best to wait until you have completed the basic structure of your parenting plan before you start adding additional provisions. Provisions in a parenting agreement are helpful because they can create:

  • Guidelines for how you will raise your children, which creates more consistency between the two homes
  • A system for when and how you will communicate with your co-parent
  • A process for making temporary adjustments to the parenting agreement when circumstances require it

Examples of Provisions

The provisions in your parenting plan can be as specific as you want, as long as they do not violate state parenting laws. Common examples of provisions include:

Posted on in Child Custody

How Apps Can Help You with Co-ParentingWith the popularity of smartphone applications, it is no surprise that there are several apps related to divorce. Among these, co-parenting apps seem to be the most common. There are apps that help you create a parenting schedule, communicate with your co-parent and even make child support payments. Many apps will require you to pay a subscription fee to use their most advanced tools, and you should thoroughly research an app before you decide to rely on it for your co-parenting needs. There are several ways that a co-parenting app can be useful to a modern, two-household family:

  1. Organization: Most co-parenting apps have a shared calendar feature. You could also use a basic calendar application that will not require any fees. A calendar app records your parenting schedule and can give automated reminders about when you are supposed to pick up and drop off your children. More advanced apps allow you to track and share child-related expenses, which is a helpful record when calculating child support payments.
  2. Communication with Your Co-Parent: For some people, talking to their co-parent through an app is less stressful than a phone call. Some apps are designed to help co-parents communicate with each other in an organized setting. A message through an app is less intrusive than a text message and easier to notice than an email. You may not be expecting an email from your co-parent but will know to check the app for messages. Some apps scan your messages for emotionally charged language and warn you before you send the message.
  3. Communication with Children: Your children need to know when they are scheduled to be with each parent, as well as have a safe forum to communicate with their parents. You may need to tell your child that you are running a little late, or your child may need to tell you about a change in their school or social schedule. You can communicate with your children through normal texting and phone calls, but using an app can help you both stay organized. An app also helps you separate your messages to them about your parenting schedule from messages that are purely social.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

Apps can be useful tools during and after a divorce but are not a replacement for an experienced divorce lawyer. A St. Charles, Illinois, divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group can help you create your parenting plan and advise you when changes are necessary. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.

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Posted on in Child Custody

Can Divorce Make You a Better Parent?It is hard to see much bright side to your divorce when it comes to your children. They are justifiably upset about the breakup of your marriage and how that will change their lives. It is difficult to adjust to a shared parenting agreement that requires them to travel between two homes. On an emotional level, they have experienced the dissolution of your marriage first hand and may question the permanence of any relationship, including their relationship with you. If there is a positive for the children, it is that they no longer live in a home environment rife with conflict and tension. There is also a chance that you may become a better parent to them as a result of your divorce.

Attention

Your marriage may have distracted you from your parenting in ways that you did not realize. It is difficult to concentrate on your children when you are worried about your relationship with your spouse and what that may mean for your future. Being a single parent is more work, but you could be a more attentive parent as a result because:

  • Your spouse is no longer competing with your children for your attention;
  • You are responsible for all of the parental responsibilities when the children are with you; and
  • Parenting time is more cherished when it is limited.

Your responsibilities as a single adult may demand your attention at times. You will learn how to manage your time so that you are available to your children when it is their time to be with you.

Why Parental Alienation Is Controversial in Family LawWhen arguing over the allocation of parental responsibilities, one parent may accuse the other of creating parental alienation. The concept, which is sometimes called parental alienation syndrome, is that one parent is encouraging the children to not have a relationship with the other parent for reasons that are illogical or selfish. Parental alienation can be viewed as a form of child abuse, and some parents have used the claim to gain greater or complete responsibility for the children. However, parental alienation is a controversial subject because an abusive parent could use it to gain access to their children.

Potential for Abuse

The professional psychology community is divided on parental alienation syndrome, including:

  • Whether it is a psychological condition:
  • How it can be identified and proven; and
  • How prevalent it is in parenting relationships.

These doubts lead some to believe that parental alienation should not be a major consideration in family courts. Parental alienation has helped decide parental responsibilities in real cases. In some cases, allegedly abusive parents have gained full child custody by accusing the other parent of unreasonably withholding the children. Critics of parental alienation claim that abusive parents are taking advantage of the concept to control their children and punish their co-parents.

Three Reasons Why Children Benefit From Shared ParentingIllinois assumes that both parents in a divorce should share parenting time of their child. This may not mean equal parenting time because courts prefer that one parent has the children for a majority of the time to create more stability. Still, both parents are encouraged to be active in their children’s lives beyond child support and basic obligations. Studies on children of divorce have shown that they benefit when each parent has at least 35 percent of the parenting time. They do better in school and are less likely to have long-lasting emotional issues. There are several reasons why shared parenting is more beneficial to children than when one parent has most or all of the parenting time:

  1. The Children Develop Relationships with Both Parents: Conventional wisdom used to be that children primarily need their mothers when growing up, which left some fathers with limited contact with their children. However, a father is also an important figure in a child’s life, and children who do not develop a close relationship with their father may feel abandoned. To develop a relationship, fathers need more time with their children than a visit every other weekend, especially when the child is young.
  2. The Children Receive More Attention: A single parent cannot replicate the positive effect of having two active parents. The parent has work responsibilities and a limited amount of energy to care for all of the children. A shared parenting plan divides the parental responsibilities so that no one parent has to be responsible for all the children at all times. There are two parents to be attentive to the children’s needs and help them if they are having problems.
  3. The Parents Must Work Together: Being “co-parents” means that you are both responsible for the care and development of your children. You need to communicate with your co-parent about what has happened with your children in his or her absence and come to some consensus on how you will raise your children. While it may be difficult, successful co-parenting creates consistency for your children and sets a good example for them. You both are showing how two adults can co-operate towards a common goal, even when they do not get along.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Attorney

There are several ways that you can divide your parenting time and schedule the days that you have with your children. A St. Charles, Illinois, divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group can help you determine the best parenting schedule for your situation. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.

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