The courts recognize that there are many different factors that can affect the best interests of children, and that a one-size-fits-all parenting plan is not best for most families. This is where flexibility comes in. Allowing yourself as a parent to be flexible and to plan for flexibility allows for changes and adjustments as needed. Both before the Court enters a parenting plan and after, it is important to be open to making modifications and adjustments for the following reasons:
Children's needs change over time. What works for a child at one age may not work at another age. A flexible parenting plan can be adjusted to meet the changing needs of the child.
Life happens. There will be times when parents are unable to follow their parenting plan exactly. A flexible parenting plan can make it easier for parents to adjust to these unexpected events.
Parents can change. As parents grow and change, their parenting styles may also change. A flexible parenting plan can allow parents to adapt their parenting time to their changing needs.
How Does the Court Consider Flexibility in Parental Allocation?
When the court is considering a parenting plan, it will consider a number of factors, including the best interests of the child. One of the factors that the court will consider is flexibility. The court will want to make sure that the parenting plan is flexible enough to allow for changes and adjustments as needed - but has specific language for when parents cannot be flexible. No judge will knock on your door on any given day and ask where your children are. The Judge expects a parenting plan to be followed, but also hopes that parents will choose to get along enough to allow for modifications and changes as needed.
The court will also consider the willingness of the parents to cooperate. If the parents are willing to work together and be flexible, the court is more likely to order a parenting plan that allows for flexibility.
The Benefits of Flexibility
There are many benefits to having a flexible parenting plan. Flexibility can help to ensure that children have a close and continuing relationship with both parents. Flexibility can also help to reduce conflict between parents.
A study by the American Psychological Association found that children who have a close and continuing relationship with both parents are more likely to do well in school, have healthy relationships, and be happy. The study also found that conflict between parents can have a negative impact on children. Being flexibile can foster a good close relationship between a child and his or her parents and reduce conflict. Of court, flexibility should not be a one-way street, with one parent demanding changes and the other parent always giving up time. Rather, it should be a give-and-take, where each parent makes changes as needed, knowing that the other parent is not going to refuse and will reciprocate when they need to also make a change.
Flexibility can help to reduce conflict between parents by allowing them to make changes to the parenting plan as needed. For example, if one parent has to work late, the other parent can pick up the child from school. This can help to prevent conflict between the parents and can also help to ensure that the child is not left alone or worries that their parents are unable to both be present.
I have almost 20 years of experience drafting parenting plans. I know how to create a plan that will grow with your child and help you foster a good sense of flexibility. I also draft plans with specific times for each parent so that everyone has a base schedule to go by. I am ready to help draft yours if you and your child’s other parent can agree. Reach out through my website or call my office to see if I can help you turn your agreements into your parenting plan.