A parenting plan is essential for divorced parents who are raising their child or children together. No doubt, at the time of the divorce, a plan addressing parenting time, visitation and other issues was put in place. However, as the needs and circumstances of the parents and children change, this plan will probably need to be revisited and adjusted from time to time. This is true especially at the start of a new school year. What are some factors to consider when it's time for the children to pack up their books, pens and pencils and return to school?
The parents' circumstances
Sometimes divorced parents - out of fear, insecurity, hurt feelings or revenge - try to grab as much time with the children as possible, without considering what is realistic or in the best interests of the children. Don't insist on a schedule that will prove challenging or impossible. You could end up running yourself ragged, being late for appointments, and leaving your children without proper care and supervision.
Look carefully at your schedule. Has your employment or work schedule changed? What time do you need to be at work in the morning? When are you finished? What is the distance/travel time from your home or place of employment to your former spouse's home or your children's school? Do you have other activities in the evenings? All of this has a bearing on how much you can reasonably commit to providing transportation and scheduling time for meals and other activities with your children on school days.
Your children's circumstances
Your children's circumstances can change drastically from one school year to the next. Additionally, their needs change as they get older. Will they be attending a different school this year? Where is it? What time do they need to be at school? What time are they finished? Do they have any extracurricular activities this year? If so, which days? If they are playing sports, this could include practice after school and away games in the evenings, and these may not always fall on the same day of the week.
Consult an Attorney
If a simple verbal agreement is made with your former spouse and you give up some time with your children, this could be used later as leverage to get something more permanent and binding put in place, restricting your time with your children. If any modifications are needed to your parenting plan, consult the attorneys at the law office of Keith B. Schulefand. With over 25 years of experience in family law, we can help you reach a fair agreement that is in the best interests of all involved.