Child custody schedules, as some Illinois parents will discover, are as unique as the situation each family faces. Additionally, as the needs of the children and the family change over time, so will the schedule. However, even more than that, they will look different for different age groups.
Factors that affect custody schedules
There is a lot that goes into creating a parenting schedule that works for each family. Some of the factors that can affect this schedule include:
• The children’s ages
• The children’s school schedules and extracurricular activities
• The parents’ work schedules
• The location of each parent’s home in relation to important places such as the children’s schools, childcare providers, and activities
• Any special needs the children might have
Custody for infants
While it is usually in the best interests of the child to spend a lot of time with both parents, infants have particular care needs and depend on routines and stability. During this age, it is usually best for the children to live fully with one parent while having lots of visitation time with the other parent.
Once the child becomes a toddler, they also become more flexible about their need for very strict routines. During this time, the custody arrangement might include overnight visits with the other parent while still mostly living with the main caretaker parent.
Older children and teenagers
As children grow, they can also handle custody arrangements that might require them to move between their parents’ homes often, if the parents live close together. There are different parenting time splits that might be considered at this time. Older teenagers might also be allowed to choose who to live with within some states.
The needs of the family can change over time. As you observe your children’s growth, you and the other parent can discuss and set out changes that need to be made.