How Can I Make Changes in My Parenting Plan?
During the divorce, couples with children formulate a parenting plan as part of a divorce agreement. The parenting plan includes the details of how residency and time-sharing are to be divided, as well as the particulars of managing and sharing the various responsibilities and developmental needs of children.
When might modification be in order?
As children grow and their needs change, parents might find themselves in need of modification of their parenting plan. Changes might be necessary under the following conditions:
- A child who was too young for a sleepover is now mature enough to spend the night with the second parent
- The work of one parent changes significantly or requires overnight or long shifts or weekend work
- One parent relocates for work, economic opportunity or a relationship
- An older child’s academic or extracurricular activities demand participation on weekends, holidays or vacations
- The changing needs of the child are better addressed by one parent over another
If the child demonstrates the maturity to participate in these decisions, a judge might request to interview them. All modifications are granted on the basis of their benefit or best interest of the child and not necessarily the convenience of the parents.
How do I go about seeking a modification?
A parent who wishes to pursue a modification of any kind has a few options. Parents on good terms with one another can form an agreement and submit it to a judge for approval. If some degree of negotiation is required, parents can turn to a third-party mediator for assistance. If the changes being requested are substantial, a judge might schedule a hearing in order to examine the request more closely. Judges do not like to disrupt a child’s routine unless the change is clearly beneficial or the present situation is harmful. Any agreement affecting minor children must be submitted in writing.
Review your parenting plan every two to three years and discuss any changes with your Boca Raton divorce attorney.