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A new school year can necessitate parenting plan changes

Summer is a good time for divorced parents to re-evaluate their custody agreements and parenting plans. As your kids prepare to start a new school year, you may need to make adjustments.This may be necessary if they're attending a new school for the first time (such as transitioning from middle school to junior high), if they'll be involved in any new sports or extracurricular activities or if there are simply changes that would be best for them.

Kids' schedules change significantly as they advance in school. You may want to seek an adjustment of pick-up and drop-off schedules with your co-parent. Perhaps their schedules make it difficult for them to spend the same nights at your house that they did previously. Maybe they're already planning to join a friend's family for a winter ski trip that will necessitate adjusting your Christmas vacation custody schedule.

It's usually best to codify these changes, even if they seem minor, in your parenting plan. This can help prevent confusion and conflict later. You may need to have them approved by the court.

Another question to consider as you're re-evaluating custody and visitation is whether your agreement has the kids' well-being at its core or whether it's a reflection of your feelings about your spouse during the divorce. Did you make demands out of anger or resentment that your spouse gave in to because he or she had been unfaithful? Those feelings generally subside over time, allowing parents to look at the custody arrangement less emotionally.

Another factor to reconsider is how well your methods of communicating with your child's other parent are working. If they're still haphazard, you may want to implement one of the parenting time apps that are available. These can prevent mix-ups and help you minimize the need for direct communication, if that's still emotionally challenging. The apps promote peace by keeping everyone informed of the kids' schedules and activities.

It's best when co-parents can work out necessary changes to their parenting plans together. However, regardless of whether your ex is on board with your wishes or not, if you see the need for changes, your attorney can advise how best to address the children's changing needs in your parenting plan.

Source: Huffington Post, "Back to School: 3 Ways To Tell If Your Child Custody Agreement Is The Right Fit," Bari Zell Weinberger, Esq., accessed July 07, 2017

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