Modify Your Parenting Plan Effectively
You can write up your own parenting plan (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own agreement, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates parenting plans. You make each part of your agreement, and then you can print professional documents of your plan.
You are allowed to modify a parenting plan once it is approved in family court as long as you can show that the current plan is no longer meeting your children's needs.
The family court is interested in promoting the children's best interests, so once you realize your plan needs to change, the process isn't too difficult.
While the process for modifying a parenting plan may differ from state to state, there are generally five steps you must go through:
- Get the appropriate paperwork for your state on filing a modification to your parenting plan
- Fill out the paperwork, specifically what you are revising, and supply supporting documentation for the changes
- File the paperwork with your local court and keep copies for yourself
- Notify the other parent about the filing, and deliver a copy of the papers
- Appear at the hearing to answer any questions about the modifications
If the judge finds that your reasons are compelling enough, he or she will approve the modifications to the parenting plan.
There are several things that may prompt you to modify your parenting plan, such as life events or changes to your children's needs. To help the family court understand why a modification is needed, you may want to keep records of major changes.
Among the more common reasons you may need to change your parenting plans are:
- Change in jobs for you or the other parent
- Remarriage for you or the other parent
- Relocation for you or the other parent
- Changing schools or school schedules for your children
- Negative effects on development in the children due to current plan
- Maturation of children that requires more age appropriate schedules
- Unfit parenting status for you or the other parent
You may wish to change whole sections of the parenting plan, or just update an area or two. Make modifications to the document easily when you use Custody X Change to create and revise your parenting plan.
The software allows you to make sample changes to the existing plan as well as to the custody schedule so you can include your proposals with the modification paperwork you submit.
The first step when modifying a parenting plan is to identify exactly what the problem is with the current plan, then develop a solution. Many parents keep a parenting journal to track problems and make notes about how their children are responding to different parts of the parenting plan.
Here are three examples of problems and solutions:
- Your child was a toddler when you separated, and your parenting plan did not allow for overnight visits with the other parent. Now that your child is in elementary school, you both agree that its time for every other weekend at the other's home.
- The other parent is moving a few hours away due to a new job and you currently have joint physical custody. You want to modify the parenting plan and the custody arrangements so that you will have sole physical custody.
- Your teen has decided he wants to change the visitation schedule to alternating weeks at each home. This is so he can have more stability for school and extracurricular activities and not feel so transient. You and the other parent agree that a new schedule will help him stay on top of homework and focus more on school.
In order to strengthen your position with the other parent and the family court, gather as much documentation as you can.
Create a sample parenting plan using Custody X Change to present to the court that clearly illustrates what changes and revisions you have in mind. You can print out your revisions to present to the other parent, your attorney and the family court.
When you start the process of modifying your parenting plan, you must always keep the needs of your children at the front of your mind. The family court judge will not approve revisions to a parenting plan that does not favor positive development in the children.
Know that whatever revisions and modifications you make should be age appropriate for the children. If you are making a correction to the parenting plan, include changes that promote their needs rather than your own.
If your children are old enough to express themselves well, you may want to ask them about the changes you are considering. They may have some insight into solutions to the problem, or can let you know of other issues you might not be aware of.
If possible, meet with the other parent to discuss the modifications you are considering. Hopefully, you will be on the same page for the benefit of your children. If not, you can still request a modification to the parenting plan through the court.
Custody X Change software is an award-winning program that allows you to create parenting plans on your own, or revise existing plans.
If the other parent doesn't support modifying the parenting plan, you can start the process on your own. If the changes can be shown to benefit the children, the judge will most likely approve the modifications.
While you and the other parent should ideally be on the same page, sometimes it's difficult to come together in agreement. Sometimes, the changes are required because of something the other parent has done or not done.
Here are some steps to start communicating with the other parent about modifying the parenting plan:
- Keep track of the particular problem in a parenting journal
- Let the other parent know about the problem and that you'd like to discuss it
- Show the other parent examples of the problem and ask if he or she has noticed any examples
- Offer a few different solutions to the problem
- Be open to negotiations with the other parent in finding the ultimate solution
- Proceed ahead with the modifications if you can't reach an agreement
As long as your modifications can be backed up with evidence that your children need the changes, the revised parenting plan is likely to be approved. Use Custody X Change to create a clear, neat plan for the proceedings.
Keep a parenting journal so that you can tell if your parenting plan modifications are working. Document any instance of problems or issues that result from the parenting plan.
Note that there will be an adjustment period with changes to a parenting plan or custody schedule, and you should allow some time to pass before gaining a true understanding of the lasting impacts.
Custody X Change software includes an electronic journal feature that connects your notes to specific days on the custody schedule. As needed, you can print out your parenting journal for reference or to hand to the other parent to start communication.
Ultimately, the family court wants parents to make modifications to the parenting plan as often as needed in order to promote a healthy, stable and loving environment for your children.