Many parents in Illinois share custody of their children. Some exes share joint custody, which is where each parent has the children in their physical custody approximately half the time. Others have primary custody in which the noncustodial parent has visitation. Either way, there are several ways a custodial parent can make the family situation easier.

For example, sticking to a visitation schedule is very important. Failure to do so can result in the custodial parent being accused of interfering with the other parent’s visitation rights. If changes must be made, a court-ordered visitation schedule can usually be altered with the consent of both parents. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to talk about any temporary changes that will be needed due to a child’s extracurricular activities or a parent’s work schedule in advance.

Custodial parents should keep the noncustodial parent informed of any important events in a child’s life. This includes medical emergencies, vacation plans and the dates of any major school events. Good communication can help prevent problems and future court battles.

Parents should also talk about major expenses and plans in advance. If the custodial parent wants to relocate to another state, it’s important to discuss the plan with the noncustodial parent before doing so. Major expenses involving the children should also be discussed before they are incurred.

Sometimes, parents cannot work things out and must ask a court to intervene. An attorney experienced in family law may be able to help a client who is in this situation. If one parent is not sticking to the court-ordered visitation schedule or is refusing to pay for their share of the medical bills, an attorney may be able to help.