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Should You Be Flexible with Your Parenting Plan?

Posted on in Divorce

Should You Be Flexible with Your Parenting Plan?A parenting plan is a detailed outline that divorced parents use to determine how they will share their responsibility for their children. It can take great effort to create a parenting plan, particularly if the parents disagree on how to divide parenting time and raise the children. Once you have hammered out and approved a parenting agreement, does that mean you should never deviate from it? There are some situations when being flexible is best for your children and beneficial to you and your co-parent. In other situations, it is important to defend the integrity of the plan.

When to Be Flexible

Co-parents sometimes discover that they need to adjust their parenting plan because it is not working the way they intended. You need to request a modification of your parenting plan in court if you want to make a permanent change to the plan. What if you have an unusual situation in which deviating from your parenting plan this one time makes the most sense? This most often occurs with parenting time schedules, such as when:

  • A parent is not available during their normal parenting time
  • A child’s schedule temporarily conflicts with parenting time
  • An emergency occurs and a parent needs someone to look after the children

It is impractical to go to court for every one-time change in your parenting plan. Instead, you and your co-parent should discuss how you can temporarily adjust your parenting plan to fit your unusual circumstance. Your parenting agreement can even state that you will allow changes to the plan for isolated situations as long as both sides agree to it.

When to Be Rigid

Firstly, a parent cannot change the plan on their own without the approval of the other parent. If your co-parent is asking you to deviate from your parenting plan, you should consider:

  • Whether the change would be in the best interest of your children
  • How much the change may inconvenience or disrupt your children’s lives
  • Whether the change is necessary for your co-parent or merely convenient
  • Whether your co-parent is willing to be flexible in return, such as offering some of their parenting time in exchange for you giving up your own parenting time

Contact a McHenry County Divorce Attorney

If you or your co-parent are frequently asking for the same adjustment to your parenting plan, this may be a sign that you need to modify your plan. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, divorce lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you negotiate a modification with your co-parent or make an argument for it in court. Call 815-338-3838 to schedule a free consultation.



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