Parenting Plan Tune-Ups

When parents divorce, a parenting plan will be created that designates how certain issues regarding the children will be handled.  Sometimes, this parenting plan is drafted by the parents, and other times, if the parents cannot agree, the courts will order a parenting plan on their behalf.

Parenting plans can be as detailed as the parties want them to be.  Parenting plans typically cover issues involving religion, education, custody, visitation, healthcare, and more.  Since it is often difficult to foresee what issues may arise for your children in the future, it is not uncommon to revisit the parenting plan and revise it.

In many jurisdictions, the parties are allowed to modify an agreement so long as they both agree.  For example, if visitation is supposed to begin on a Friday night at 6:00 p.m., the parties may agree to change it to Saturday at 2:00 p.m.  if they have some conflict.

To avoid future litigation, the parties should make their parenting plans as detailed as possible and cover as many issues as they can.  For example, the parties can go ahead and agree how college expenses will be divided in the future for their sixteen-year-old.  The parties may agree in advance how to handle the cost of braces should their children need them.  By agreeing to certain issues in advance, the parties will avoid having to go back to court and file motions to resolve the matter.

Sometimes, parenting plans need “tune-ups” when unanticipated events arise.  One such issue is the relocation of one parent.  What if the parent with custody accepts a job across the country? Many parenting plans provide that if a parent moves outside of a certain radius, the parties may mediate the issue or file a new case.  Mediating issues when possible will reduce both stress and expenses.