The new year only began a few weeks ago. Therefore, it’s still an excellent time for co-parents to assess whether their existing parenting plan requires adjustments for the remainder of 2024. A parenting plan should be treated as a dynamic document that can potentially evolve in response to the changing needs and circumstances of both children and parents.
Before you either begin negotiating with your co-parent about changes you’d like to make – or seeking legal guidance because you are quite sure that your co-parent will not cooperate in re: modification efforts – begin by reflecting on how well your current parenting plan worked over the past year.
Consider your children’s responses to the arrangements, any difficulties in transitions between homes and how well both parents were able to adhere to the plan. Were there frequent conflicts or misunderstandings? Did the schedule suit the children’s school and extracurricular activities? This kind of reflection can help identify areas that might benefit from modification.
Modification considerations worth keeping in mind
The new year is a good time to look ahead at the calendar. Consider any special dates, holidays or vacations that might need specific planning. Adjustments may be necessary to ensure that both parents have equal opportunities to spend quality time with their children during these periods.
You’ll also want to evaluate how communication between co-parents has been over the past year. Effective and respectful communication is key to a successful parenting plan. If communication has been a challenge, your plan might need to incorporate more structured or clear communication protocols.
As children grow older, their educational needs, social life and activities change. A parenting plan should accommodate these changes to support a child’s development effectively. Parents’ circumstances can also change. This might include job changes, relocation, new relationships or changes in health. These shifts can impact the feasibility or appropriateness of existing parenting schedules and arrangements. By regularly reviewing and adjusting your parenting plan, you can better ensure its relevance and ultimate success.