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Why parenting plans change

One great thing about setting up a parenting plan with your co-parent is the predictability it brings. For example, there should rarely be a question about who pays what and when one parent has the child(ren). This stability is a huge stress reliever for children and parents alike. That said, life circumstances change. Little by little, your life may have transformed so much that seven years later, it is a poor match for the official parenting plan.

Out of date

A parenting plan that is out of date is a good reason to revisit the document. For instance, the financial needs of a high school child are often different from the needs of one in elementary school. Furthermore, older children may want more say in where they go and who they stay with.

Moves

Big changes such as one parent relocating out of state (or just moving, period) may also warrant immediate changes to a parenting plan. Such moves may incorporate ways for the relocating parent to keep in touch with the child, such as video chat, extended visitations and nightly phone calls.

Financial changes

If one parent has a job adjustment or a job loss, that could also warrant a parenting plan change. This happens whether the job change entails a salary raise or a salary decrease. Also, a parent who has recently retired and who has more time may wish for more face-to-face interaction with the children.

Improved co-parental relationship

You may also wish to change a parenting plan because your relationship with the co-parent has improved. For example, joint custody may have been difficult, at best, to attain previously. Now, the other parent seems open to it. The same may occur with issues such as having a say in the child's education and medical decisions.

There are other reasons to change a parenting plan, but the above four may seem most obvious to parents. However, Florida courts are unlikely to consider or accept modifications unless circumstances have hugely, and often unexpectedly, altered. The development of parental alienation could be one such example, as could be a move across the country.

Making a new parenting plan can still be worthwhile even if you wonder whether a Florida court would accept it. In situations when a new plan is not filed with the court, it still provides stability and structure for all parties. An attorney can help you draw up a new plan and can advise you on whether you should file it in court.

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