Divorcing parents generally have a lot of freedom when drafting their parenting plans and child custody agreements. As long as a judge agrees that the parenting arrangements are both lawful and serve the best interests of the children involved, the parenting plan will get approved. However, that doesn't mean it will be perfect.
Sometimes, parenting plans will require revision as the child grows and matures and life situations change. As such, parents may want to establish the following guidelines within the plan regarding how to revise and alter it:
- The parents shall meet at specific intervals – perhaps every other year, once a year or twice a year – to determine if parenting plan changes are required or appropriate.
- The conditions related to the parenting plan can be revised or supplemented as required by the changing needs of the child and parents. These revisions will be dated, in writing, signed and agreed to by both parents. Both parents will receive a copy of the revised agreement.
- Parents can ask to change the parenting plan – such as changing the parenting schedule – via written request. The other parent will have two weeks to respond to the request.
The more time parents take to consider the parenting provisions to include in their parenting plans, the better they'll be able to reduce the chances of arguments and misunderstandings later on down the road. Also, if an argument does develop, a well-drafted parenting plan should offer guidelines to swiftly resolve the issue in a manner that respects the sanctity of both parents' perspectives and needs – as well as the best interests of the children.