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The Ways Outdated Parenting Plans Can Complicate Vacation Planning

On Behalf of | May 1, 2023 | Family Law

Vacation planning is almost as fun as going on the vacation itself. From picking the location to finding restaurants, the anticipation of the experience can improve your mood. However, an inadequate parenting plan can quickly throw a wrench in even the most fabulous vacations. Creating a comprehensive parenting plan that accounts for evolving conditions at the beginning is best, but it’s important to understand the various options available for pre-existing parenting plans.

Comprehensive Parenting Plans

If you already have a comprehensive parenting plan, you probably don’t face a lot of friction in terms of vacation planning, but if you’re unsure, it’s important to know what one looks like. A well-crafted parenting plan should not just establish each parent’s responsibilities and time-sharing schedules but also account for holidays, vacations, and the evolving needs of the children. For example, does the parenting plan consider the growing social needs and potential extracurricular activities of the children? What if one parent has additional children in a separate school district with different holiday schedules? Would having a rotating schedule help everyone better plan for future events? There is no right or wrong answer to any of these questions, and each family will require unique solutions to their unique needs.

A comprehensive parenting plan should have the framework to last the entire childhood of each child. A plan that worked for a toddler may not work for a middle-schooler, and especially not for a teen planning for college. There may be a need to create flexibility or a framework for parents to make the necessary adjustments to evolve with the growing needs of their children. These adjustments can include changes in time sharing arrangements, visitation schedules, and decision-making responsibilities.

Modification for Parenting Plans

Creating a lasting parenting plan is often easier said than done, but an experienced legal team can use their negotiating skills to start off on the right foot. It’s important to drive home the importance of starting with a comprehensive parenting plan because modifications are extremely challenging. In order for changes to be made to a parenting plan and be enforceable, there has to be a significant and unexpected change in the child’s circumstances.  In order to be considered a significant or substantial change, it has to make it impossible to continue with the parenting plan in its current form. For example, if one parent is injured and becomes permanently disabled, this is likely to change their availability or ability to maintain the agreed-upon parenting plan.

The court will always prioritize the best interests of the child, so permanently changing a parenting plan because it’s simply inconvenient to either parent is not considered a significant or permanent change in circumstances. The court will also consider the proposed changes such as the children’s ages, their developmental needs, and their existing relationship with both parents. If both parents don’t agree on the changes, it is especially difficult to make a modification plan.

If you’re hoping to make a small or significant change to your parenting plan, it may not happen in time for your upcoming vacation, but starting with a comprehensive parenting plan should help families plan vacations years in advance. If you’re in the process of planning a divorce and need assistance creating a parenting plan that works for you and your ex, or would like guidance on modifying an existing plan, the team at Rotella & Hernandez is ready to assist. To schedule a consultation, call (305) 596-3618 today.