The Best Interest of the Child and the Importance of Cooperation

May 16, 2023

When parents can’t agree on a parenting plan in Illinois, the Court steps in. They’ll consider 17 factors to determine what’s in the child’s best interests. Of those many factors, there is a special emphasis on the importance of cooperation between parents.

Why Cooperation Matters


Studies show that parents who cooperate raise children with less conflict and more positive feelings about their parenting abilities. Children in these families also tend to feel more loved, secure, and have higher self-esteem.

Cooperation doesn’t mean one parent always gives in — that’s bullying. Cooperation is about putting aside animosity, recognizing that both parents have valid input, and focusing on what’s truly best for the child.

Tips for Effective Co-Parenting Cooperation & Communication


  1. Open and Honest Communication: Be willing to share your thoughts and feelings honestly, but avoid emotionally charged conversations. Focus on rational discussions aimed at the child’s well-being.
  2. Active Listening: Truly hear what the other parent is saying, and try to understand their perspective. Remember, there’s rarely just one “right” way to parent. To do this, learn to incorporate phrases like “I think you’re saying X. Do I understand right?”. Paraphrasing and mirroring what the other person is saying is also effective, as is asking why questions.
  3. Agree to Disagree: It’s okay to have different opinions. Respect those differences and focus on finding common ground. If needed, consider parallel parenting strategies.
  4. Seek Professional Help: If communication is difficult, a therapist or counselor can teach you valuable skills for effective co-parenting. Therapists can help you find effective ways to express your ideas and thoughts to your former partner in a less emotional way.

Remember: Your ability to cooperate directly impacts your child’s happiness and well-being. When you put your child’s needs first, you’re building a foundation for a positive co-parenting relationship that will benefit everyone.

Need Help Crafting a Parenting Plan?


If you and your co-parent are struggling to agree on a parenting plan, I can help. My experience as a family lawyer in Illinois allows me to create plans that are tailored to your child’s needs and promote cooperation between parents. If you are ready to put your parenting plan into action and are willing to cooperate, reach out to my office. I can take your parenting time ideas and create your parenting plan so that you can move on without a Judge deciding where your child will be on any given night.

Disclaimer: This blog post is a resource for general information, not a substitute for personalized legal advice. Reading this content does not create an attorney-client relationship. For guidance on your individual legal matters, please consult with a licensed attorney.