As your children age, they become more independent and require less assistance from their parents. They also have their own lives away from home that will impact how often they’re available for time-sharing visits with their noncustodial parent. Once your parenting plan is filed with the court system, it may seem written in stone, but adding flexibility to your plan is as simple as including stipulations allowing for occasional last-minute changes.
10 Tips for Creating a Flexible Parenting Plan
Creating a new parenting plan or updating your old one doesn’t have to be complicated. Finding a plan that works for everyone while giving your child the structure and flexibility they need can be achieved with the right balance of cooperation and negotiation.
Here are 10 tips for creating a flexible and long-lasting parenting plan:
- Create an open dialogue that focuses on respect and cooperative decision making
- Look for ways everyone’s schedule can be considered, including your older children
- Get buy-in from your children and acknowledgment about rules and expectations
- Don’t put your children in situations where they have to choose between spending time with a parent and doing something fun with another parent; always respect each parent’s visitation time.
- Promote stability by providing supportive, communicative one on one time with each child
- Factor in time for conversations that help you each catch up with what’s happening in the lives of your children when they are with the other parent
- Built time for extended family into your parenting plan so visits don’t disrupt the schedule
- When one parent has obligations that require missing visitations, encourage video conferencing and phone calls to keep the spirit of the parenting plan in place
- Don’t immediately assume the worse of your co-parent; assume they have your children’s best interest at heart until you have reason to believe otherwise
- Never burden your children with the responsibility of communicating changes and updates to your co-parent
When to Ask for a New Court Order
If your parenting plan needs major changes, you may need to file a change with family court. Only you and your co-parent know if you are capable of adhering to an unofficial agreement. If you and your co-parent agree to all the proposed changes, you can sign an agreement and file it with the court without an additional hearing. A family law attorney can help you draft an official agreement to ensure you include all the necessary details the court will need to approve your request. If you need to make changes to your agreement and your co-parent doesn’t agree, then you’d likely need to consider working with a lawyer to prepare for a hearing to present changes to your custody order. The hearing will give you the opportunity to prove your proposed changes are what’s best for the child or that you are changing to evolve to new dynamics within your family or your co-parent’s family.
Family court is devoted to the care and concern of dependent individuals. If you need a hearing to change your custody order, it would be ideal if you and your co-parent could reach an agreement in order to save your family time and money. But, the best course of action is what provides the most stable environment for your children.
If you need help modifying your custody order in Kentucky, call the Law Offices of Louis Winner at (502) 812-1889 to schedule a consultation.