Summer is just around the corner, and it is coming just as some COVID-19 precautions are lifting. Many separated and divorced parents may want to take a new look at the Parenting Plan they made last summer when COVID-19 was more widespread to see if any changes need to be made. If your family is making plans for summer camps, travel, or childcare, now is a good time to review your Parenting Plan to ensure it will fit your needs.
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How do I revise a Parenting Plan?
A Parenting Plan must be modified through the courts in most states. It depends on the state, but most out-of-court agreements are not permitted if they pertain to the parenting schedule. Parenting schedules and plans can be modified when the change is in the best interests of the child or children, but it does require parents to seek court approval. If both parents are in agreement about the change, the process is not difficult.
What types of changes do parents consider when revising a Parenting Plan ahead of summer?
Summer is a time when many families’ Parenting Plans may need revision so they can accommodate a child’s activities and interests. Some families take a vacation in the summer, and the plan may need adjustment to allow extended time away. Summer school may require the child to stay with one parent for a longer period of time to complete studies. Summer camps and other programs can also affect the plan.
This year, the changing situation with COVID-19 might also impact plans. While precautions are lifting in many parts of the country, parents may still have different levels of comfort with the pandemic. It is vital that the Parenting Plan address the pandemic so that both parents are comfortable with the protections being provided to their child.
What happens if the other parent does not want to change the Parenting Plan?
Sometimes a parent will run into a scenario where the other parent does not want to make changes to the Parenting Plan. In these situations, the parent who wants the change can start the process alone. Showing that the changes are beneficial to the child is important, but a judge may approve the modifications if there is enough evidence that they are warranted. Outlining the reasons why the child needs to have the freedom to attend a family event or otherwise have a change to the Parenting Plan will help.
What if other adults need to be included as part of the summer Parenting Plan?
A Parenting Plan is an agreement between two parents of a child, but sometimes other adults are needed to help with childcare and transportation. For example, grandparents or adult siblings may need permission to make decisions while caring for the child while a parent is unavailable. While they are not included in the Parenting Plan, the other adults can receive Child Care Authorization from either parent. This provides temporary permission to make decisions on the child’s behalf.
If a child will be under the care of a babysitter or nanny during the summer, Child Care Instructions can be helpful. This allows both parents to provide input, even if the child is not in their direct care for part of the summer, while giving the child care provider a written reference to the child’s specific needs and important emergency contact information.
Navigating Parenting Plans with summer approaching can pose a challenge. If you have specific questions about Parenting Plans and modifications, custody issues, visitation issues, or any other legal issue, don’t hesitate to reach out to a Rocket Lawyer On Call® attorney for affordable legal advice.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.