Calabrese Associates, P.C.

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Parenting Plans Should Be Specific, Yet Flexible

Parenting Plans Should Be Specific, Yet FlexibleWhen it comes to a document as important as a parenting plan, you want to avoid vague language and unanswered questions. A weak parenting plan can create conflict between the co-parents, which may also harm the children. Your parenting plan can be as specific as you need to prevent your co-parent from interpreting it differently. However, the plan should also be flexible so that you can respond to unusual circumstances with practical solutions. A good parenting plan thoroughly addresses all of the known issues that are involved in co-parenting while allowing flexibility to adjust to unforeseen issues.

Detailed Document

Parenting time is rightfully the most discussed aspect of a parenting plan because it is the most fundamental part of co-parenting. However, there are numerous areas of co-parenting in which there is a potential for conflict if the plan does not specifically address them. Some of the most common questions that the plan should answer include:

  • When and where will the parents exchange the children for visits?;
  • How will the normal parenting schedule change during holidays and extended school breaks?;
  • Which decisions regarding the children must receive approval from both parents?;
  • Which religious or moral beliefs should the children follow?; and
  • How will the parents share child-related expenses that are not covered by child support?

Your parenting plan may include considerations that are specific to your children and their unique needs.

Flexible Document

Your parenting plan will not predict every conflict that will arise between you and your co-parent. Circumstances in your lives can suddenly change, and the needs of your children will change as they get older. You can file a petition to modify your parenting plan if your change of circumstances will cause a long-term conflict with the plan. However, it is impractical to seek court approval for a one-time deviation from the parenting plan. For instance, school or work events can interfere with the normal parenting time schedule. Rather than losing that parenting time, the parents could adjust their normal schedule so that the children could see a parent at another time. A parenting plan can include a section that allows parents to temporarily deviate from the schedule when both parents agree to it.

Working Within the Parenting Plan

A parenting plan is a legally enforceable document that determines each of your rights and responsibilities as parents. You should never act on your own to deviate from the plan, even if you believe its terms are unfair or impractical. A DuPage County family law attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can help you create or modify your parenting plan. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111.



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