Time to Review Your Parenting Plan

June 8, 2018

Estate planning attorneys remind their clients to review their wills and trusts periodically to make sure the documents are current.  So too should divorced and un- married parents review their parenting plans.  The upcoming summer school vacation is the perfect time to begin this process to make sure that the plan is continuing to meet the needs of the children.    What is your recourse, if the current parenting plan that is a court judgment is no longer working?  It may be time to for a re-write and modification of the plan.


What are some of the reasons parenting plans need to be updated?


It is a fact of life that children grow up and become more independent.

The plan you agreed to when your children were toddlers may not be appropriate now that they are pre-teens.  Parenting plans should allow for flexibility to accommodate each life stage of your children.  Your children may be enrolled in school activities that were not in existence when the original plan was drafted, they may be attending day or overnight camps or just want some time away from their parents to spend more time with their friends.


What are the steps to be taken if the parenting plan is no longer effective?


1.  First, identify the problem to be solved.  Is it a temporary scheduling conflict due to a new activity such as a player on a sports team or a member of a dance or play with a definite end date?


2.  Next, discuss with the other parent possible solutions to the problem, which could be anything from parents switching their parenting times, adjusting the time and place for child pick up and drop of or arranging for supplemental child care.


3.  Don’t be afraid to enlist the aid of third party neutral, like a mediator or divorce or life coach, to assist in finding a solution if you and the other parent are having agreeing on the changes.  Your attorney can also be a good resource and may provide some helpful suggestions and resources.


Once you have a new agreed upon plan, contact your attorney to draft the appropriate pleading to modify your judgment and incorporate the changes into your existing plan.


Co-parenting is never easy even with the best of parenting plans, but with the proper preparation another costly court battle may be avoided.