Adjusting the Parenting Schedule for Unforeseen Events
If only life were steady and predictable. Then parenting schedules would never have to be altered to accommodate unexpected events. But, alas, life is full of twists and turns that nobody expects. During divorce or separation, we discover that all kinds of plans need to be modified, including parenting plans.
Having to change the parenting schedule from time to time is one of the few things you can count on when co-parenting after divorce. Unforeseen or special events will come up, such as a grandparent's funeral or a major celebration in the extended family. This is often not a problem, especially for divorced or separated parents who are able to cooperate with each other. Considering the possibilities, however, when putting together your parenting plan can save you time and frustration in the future. Even cooperative co-parents who generally get along well aren't necessarily always happy about making the requested changes. But they work together to accommodate these special requests because they know that they too might need to request a change from time to time.
When putting together your parenting plan, it is helpful to include a provision specifying how you will handle adjustments to the plan. Generally, what kinds of temporary changes to the schedule will be accommodated? How far in advance of the requested change will each parent need to make the request? Are there any situations, such as a death or serious illness in the family, for which a request will be automatically granted? When the schedule is changed to accommodate a special request, will the other parent's missed parenting time be made up? And, if so, how and when?
It's not possible to think of all eventualities when preparing your parenting plan, but including a provision for handling occasional changes can lessen any conflict or negative impact on the children.
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