During your divorce you may have crafted a parenting plan, which contained details regarding your day-to-day schedules. If you thought ahead, you may have included a schedule for the holidays as well. Understanding how the holiday season may alter a parenting plan can help you organize holiday festivities and vacations well in advance and reduce any potential disputes. How do you modify a parenting plan for the holidays, though, and is it possible? Today, we discuss how to alter a parenting plan for the holiday season.
Reasons for Modifying a Parenting Plan
A parenting time schedule is legally binding, however; there are factors that could result in a modification. If modifying a parenting schedule would be in the best interests of the child, it is permitted. The following reasons may allow for a parenting plan modification during the holidays:
One parent relocates
If one parent relocates and dividing the holidays up according to the original parenting plan would not be accessible, this could warrant a modification. For instance, if you and your co-parent split up Christmas day with one taking the kids in the early morning and the other in the early evening, but you live hours away from each other, a modification will need to be made. In this example, it just would not be feasible on the children or the parents to require them to make this kind of commute.
Children are more mature
While certain holiday activities may have been a good fit for your children while they were young, it is important to remember that as they mature their interests will change. Perhaps the children want to spend some time with friends during the holidays or they would like to do activities that are more time consuming and require you to adjust your parenting schedules accordingly.
One parent has a new work schedule
Circumstances change and your co-parent may have a new job or schedule that requires him/her to alter your holiday parenting plan. Additionally, if one parent’s work schedule is too demanding over the holidays, he/she may need to seek help from the other parent more and modify the plan accordingly.
The current parenting plan is not being followed
It is possible that the parenting plan you have in place just does not fit your family anymore. In this instance, it would be best to advise it so that you have a plan that reflects you and your family’s interests and needs. It is common for parenting plans to go through a transition as your family’s needs grow and change. That is normal and totally acceptable.
The children’s safety is at risk
If one parent puts a child’s safety at risk, it is crucial to modify a parenting plan immediately. It is best to speak to an experienced lawyer to determine what your best options are and if a restraining order is necessary.
How to Modify a Parenting Plan
Post-decree modifications can be created by parents themselves with the legal assistance of an experienced attorney or mediator. This method works if both parents are willing to work together to reach an agreement that is in the best interests of their children. If this is not possible, you will have to seek the court’s help to modify your existing parenting plan. If a parent wants to change an existing court order and the other parent will not agree to this modification, he/she must file a motion requesting that the court that issued the order change it.
It is important to note that you should consult with an attorney who is experienced in post-decree modifications to ensure you are taking the right steps to modify your parenting plan.
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