It’s not uncommon for divorced parents to decide to change the parenting schedule. Deviating from the original schedule outlined in the divorce decree may need to happen as the children grow older and begin to get involved in other activities. Complications can arise when these changes are made, even if both parties agree, but the court is unaware of the new schedule.
If parents want to change the parenting schedule doesn’t have to involve a judge or the court. If the parties can reach an acceptable agreement, nothing prohibits them from implementing it. However, should there be a need to go back to court, an undocumented change can lead to unnecessary confusion.
It’s a good idea to notify at least one of the attorneys that there’s an agreement to change the parenting schedule. The terms or arrangement should be outlined in a letter. To be extra certain, both parties should sign and date the letter. There are other step you could take, but this action would definitely help to provide clarification.
I’ve mentioned in several other videos that the parties can negotiate just about anything. In this instance, they may need a mediator to help them work through various considerations. An experienced, family law mediator has probably seen a similar situation and can use her/his perspective to help the parents cover all the bases. An advantage to this is that the agreement will be done properly, which will minimize the involvement of the attorneys and limit additional legal fees.
Where Should You Begin?
As a first step, you may want to have a discussion with the other parent to see if they’d be willing to agree to a change to the parenting schedule. Often, there may be benefits to both parties to do so. If there’s an interest in proceeding, try documenting how the new schedule would work. Be prepared for some give and take.
Next, consider having an attorney or mediator review the revised schedule. The key issue is to ensure you and your former spouse have considered various aspects of the change.
Finally, once the revisions are agreed upon, send it to one of the attorneys to have it officially entered into the record.
Remember, life evolves. The needs and desires of the parents, as well as the children, are going to change over time. Flexibility can make it less stressful on everyone.