To ensure your child experiences the least amount of distress after the divorce, you and your ex-spouse will need to learn how to co-parent in an effective manner. One of the most essential tips to consider for a healthy co-parenting relationship is to separate your personal relationship with your ex from the co-parenting relationship you will now have.
Things change, though, so your custody agreement may need to change periodically. You, your ex-spouse, and your lawyer can easily sit down and modify this agreement to better serve your needs. This guide and your divorce lawyer will help you understand the reasons and process involved in parent plan modifications.
The 411 on Parenting Plans
One important fact to know is that a parenting plan is a legal agreement, meaning you, your ex-spouse, and other family members must abide by the terms in the agreement. If not, there will be legal penalties.
Examples of elements placed in a parenting plan will include how you and your ex-spouse will jointly raise your child/children after the divorce. The plan may include custody arrangements, such as where your child/children will live and how long they will live there. A parenting plan will also detail where the children will be on different holidays and dates, ensuring each parent has time with their children on special days/occasions/events.
Many parenting plans will also provide detail on how your child will be provided for medically and financially. When designing the plan with your ex-spouse, make sure to include who will be paying for what expenses related to the care/lifestyle of your child/children, as well.
Modifying Parenting Plans
During the initial stages of your divorce, you will work with your lawyer to design a parenting plan that you and your ex-spouse both agree on. Again, things do change, so there will be instances where this plan needs to be modified. Even though you are capable of agreeing to some changes without legal intervention, having the professionally modified ensures everyone is in agreement to the utmost capacity.
Modifications in the parenting plan can be made if you or your spouse must relocate for work or other circumstances. If changes in your child's schedule are occurring, such as school or extracurricular activities, a modification to the parenting plan should be set in place, too.
It is also important to remember if you or your ex-spouse are planning to marry, you may seek out a modification of the parenting plan. Also, if you feel your child is in danger or not receiving the best care possible, you can work with the lawyer to adjust the parenting plan.
Filing to Modify a Parenting Plan
Just like there was a process for creating the original parenting plan, there is a process for modifying the parenting plan.
To get started, you will need to complete a document that is known as a petition for modifying a parenting plan. You and your lawyer can sit down to complete the document together, reducing any risk of error that may delay the modification. The other parent will be served, notifying them that they will need to appear in court regarding the parenting plan modification.
If you and your ex-spouse are completely in agreement over the modification, the petition must still be filed. However, you will be able to modify the parenting plan with the help of your attorney – decreasing any time and money spent in court.
Divorce does not have to negatively affect your children, causing you and your family emotional distress. With proper understanding, patience, and compassion, you and your ex-spouse can design a parenting plan suited to your family's needs.