Parenting Plans

A good parenting agreement develops from a joint effort of the parents, focusing on the needs of the children, which advances their development. It is child focused, provides frequency and consistency and both parents feel vested in it, since they worked together to develop it. Child focused parenting agreements arise from a careful consideration of the developmental needs of the child first. Developmental needs are generally age based, though not always. Parents should then consider educational activities, extracurricular activities, extended family, and friends in developing the schedule.
A consideration of the frequency of visitation with each parent is also important in developing a good parenting schedule. Very young children require a high degree of frequency while older kids generally do not require that same degree of frequency. Consistency is likewise an important element of any good parenting plan. When your child knows the schedule and can anticipate where they will be at any given time, they feel more in control and secure. Finally, the best parenting agreements are developed by both parents, together. This is true not only because of the additional input and perspective each parent brings to the development process, but most importantly because it vests them in the plan. They own it. They developed it, understand it, and agreed to it. While they might not like every aspect of the plan, they will understand the importance of sticking by it. Good parenting agreements, that are successful in the long term, almost invariably were jointly developed by the parents.

 

Can We Modify Our Parenting Agreement?

Absolutely! Courts will encourage flexibility and cooperation in the exercise of a good parenting agreement. Modifications are, in fact, extremely common. In some cases, a modified schedule is the norm! Most judges will love the fact that the parents can work together to make modifications, large and small. Not only does it help free up 19608582_ltheir docket for other cases, but judges know that when parents are able to work together the kids see it, learn from it, and are generally happier kids because of it. It’s impossible to anticipate the needs of your children in 6 months, much less 2 or 3 years from now. Accommodating each other and making an effort to be sure the kids don’t miss out on these activities can only pay off later when it’s your turn for a modification. Some modifications require the parties to go back to Court, or at least file a written Stipulation signed by both parents. There are also situations that arise that require one parent to petition the Court to modify a parenting plan because it is in the best interest of the children. Sometimes equal visitation that was acceptable when parents first got divorced is no longer the best option for the children. At DeVriendt & Associates, ensuring that the current parenting agreement is in the best interest of the children is priority #1.