In an amicable divorce, parents often draft a detailed plan to outline primary custody, parenting schedules, and other important details for the child’s benefit. While putting your parenting plan into writing is great for protecting each parent’s rights and responsibilities, it does not have to be set in stone forever.
Performing upkeep on your parenting plan is an important part of maintaining a healthy relationship after a collaborative divorce. If you go a significant amount of time without reviewing your parenting plan, consider a couple of key questions to determine if it is time for modifications.
Are you or your co-parent undergoing major life changes?
In the event that one parent suffers a loss of income, it may be necessary for the co-parent to take over additional parenting time so the children can continue living comfortably. As another example, if one parent decides to move far away, you must discuss how the distance will affect visitation and other aspects of your plan. These changes should exist in writing rather than making do with a verbal agreement.
Is your child ready to make important decisions?
Assuming your child is a minor at the time of divorce, the decision of primary custody will depend more so on what will benefit the child rather than what the child desires. When the time comes that you and your co-parent feel that your child is mature enough to make a decision that can affect your whole family, it may be worthwhile to modify your parenting plan to reflect their wishes on which parent they prefer to live with.
As the dynamic of your family continues to change over time, it is necessary for your parenting plan to keep up. Do not hesitate to petition the court for a modification when the situation calls for it.