Time to Modify your Parenting Plan
When a couple divorces, one of the issues they must resolve is that of dividing parenting responsibilities. In addition to the issues of residence and legal decision making, there are many details of day-to-day scheduling that need to be addressed. The state of New York provides divorcing parents with a form to assist in identifying and addressing these issues.
Sharing parental responsibility
A parenting plan delineates specific issues related to the care of children. The plan is likely to include such topics as a schedule of pick ups and drop offs between parents, division of responsibility for extracurricular activities and transportation to and from school, as well as more conceptual issues like discipline and religious practice and identity. At the time of divorce, the needs of the children are addressed according to their current developmental stage. As children grow, the parenting plan may require modification to reflect the changing needs of the child.
Things that might require change
Some areas of a parenting plan that might need to be modified as your child grows include:
- Time-sharing — as young children move toward adolescents and the demands of school and social calendars increase, schedules may need to change to accommodate a child’s growing interests.
- Transportation — older children may need to be able to travel longer distances or travel by bus, train or plane for visits.
- Religion — older children may choose to exercise their right to take on or reject their parent's religious practice.
An effective parenting plan is designed to help parents cooperate with one another in raising their shared children. There is no requirement that parents agree on every aspect of child rearing, only that they follow an established process for resolving conflict when they are not able to agree.
Mediation can be an excellent place to work through the initial parenting plan and a logical place to return when the plan needs modification. Review your parenting plan with your Buffalo area family law attorney every two to three years.