Modifying Parenting Plans Years after a Divorce

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Parenting plans setup through the courts by judgment may change depending on certain factors when both ex-spouses are willing to alter previous plans. The timeframe to make these changes may depend on the state, and any other factors usually greatly involve both parents that ensure the upbringing of the child is taken care of in these situations.

Even if the divorce settlement went through the courts, it is possible to modify the parenting plan through mediation or a judge. The modifications possible depend on both parties, a willingness to cooperate and what needs changes. However, if the spouse died and the sole parent left is making these decisions, he or she may change any plan at any time unless a court judgment involved alters the ability of the parent to proceed. Then, the individual may need to hire a lawyer to overturn the judgment and try to make his or her own plans.

The Options after a Divorce

Even though a divorce may finalize years before the necessary changes, it is usually possible to change a parenting plan through the courts or mediation. Mediation is the cheaper option, but both parents must be willing to compromise and agree to the outcome. The process involves open communication and a less formal procedure in usual circumstances. Any lawyers hired for these purposes are generally guides and advisors. The timetable to complete the necessary meetings is up to the parties involved and may proceed when they are ready. The situation is private and confidential and may provide a more comfortable atmosphere for all included.

Grandparents and Decisions

When divorced spouses make a decision plan, changes and agreement on what to do with each child remains between the primary parents. However, if a grandparent has custody or the mother or father dies, and the grandparent acquires custody, he, she or they have final decision-making authority. If the judgment or plan is between the mother and father, the grandparents have no option to exercise power in these agreements or judgments. The only time this is part of the situation is when a court decision is made and requires parents to include the grandparent. However, the mother or father may include the grandparent or grandparents in the program as another to help with the process.

Decision-making authority may change along with the modifications to the plan. If the couple decide to mediate the alternative plans, they must come together and communicate what should occur and how. However, this usually does not include any extended family unless they are also part of the parenting of the child. Changes to a parenting plan through the courts is costly, but a judge will make a ruling decision that will affect both parents and will require each to adhere to the changes. At that point, if there is no alternative agreement, they must abide by the judgment.

Changes and Mediation Explained

The specifics of a plan usually remain the same even years after the couple split. However, some changes are necessary based on the needs of the child. These may require adjustments as he or she ages. These include extracurriculars, afterschool clubs, programs and projects. When one or both parents have investment in the development and nurturing care of the youth, the parenting plan will reflect this. However, it is important that no other party becomes involved unless already stipulated within the plan details. The last say and decision making should remain with the parents raising the youth.

Mediation becomes the best choice when the parents want to modify the parenting plan through legal channels. The option is vastly cheaper than litigation, and it provides a peaceful and open dialogue for all involved parties. When the parents are in agreement to remain calm and open to communication and changes, mediation is easier than letting the courts decide what should occur. By sitting down and ironing out the specifics, the father and mother may add or subtract various details and alter certain information based on the age and development of the young person. This may even include additional child support payments to assist in education and skills.

Legal Help in Parenting Plans

If another party attempt to make decisions that is not in the parenting plan, the father or mother may need to hire a lawyer to help modify the situation. If seeking mediation, the lawyer may assist in advice and recommendations on what direction to go and how to make the changes.


Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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