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Is my parenting plan still important years after divorce?

During the process of divorce, parents work out the necessary aspects of co-parenting their children through the use of a parenting plan. These plans can be as involved as parents wish them to be. Comprehensive parenting plans can address everything from support and custody to vacation time and holidays. Even though the importance of these agreements is apparent during the process of divorce, keeping a copy handy years after the divorce is also a good idea.

For many divorced parents, the years following the dissolution of their marriage are filled with challenges. These challenges may include addressing scheduling conflicts as they arise. Many times, divorced parents will make a verbal agreement to handle these ever-changing aspects of parenting. In fact, it is quite common for these verbal agreements to become the norm between divorced parents. While these verbal agreements may help alleviate the stress related to a family's ever-changing schedules, they may also blur the lines between a court order and family consideration.

If one parent argues over a previously agreed upon arrangement, it may be beneficial to have the original parenting plan and divorce decree handy. By looking through the arrangements made during the divorce process, parents can exercise their right to adhere to the court-ordered parenting plan rather than the verbal agreement. Unless a verbal agreement was put in writing and approved by the family court, parents can deviate from it when necessary.

Co-parenting after divorce can be extremely difficult to master. While developing a comprehensive parenting plan may address the known issues, future schedule changes may call for parents to work out their own verbal agreements. And while working together to resolve these issues is great in theory, without putting them in writing, there's no guarantee. Parents who want to make permanent changes to their parenting plan can do so by working with an experienced family law attorney.

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