Making changes in your custody schedule can be a challenging process, especially if your divorce was difficult or prolonged. In most cases, the schedule established by the courts in your parenting plan will be the deciding factor in the arrangements made for holidays, summer vacations and weekly visits. If you need to make a change in the custody schedule, these approaches may provide you with added help in negotiating the alterations you require.
Offer a Trade
Negotiating with your former partner to trade weekends or time during the summer can often produce the desired results. By offering your co-parent time of equal value in return for the time you want to spend with your children, you can usually reach a mutually beneficial agreement. This can also promote greater cooperation that can result in a more amicable environment for both of you in managing your parenting responsibilities.
To improve the chances that your former partner will be willing to make changes to custody schedules, you may need to demonstrate that you are also willing to honor reasonable requests by your co-parent. This may involve switching weekends or holiday arrangements to accommodate work schedules or to allow your children to go on a short trip or excursion with their other parent. By showing that you are willing to allow for changes in the schedule, you can increase the likelihood that your co-parent will do the same when the need arises.
Be Specific About Your Plans
Sharing the reason for your request can often lead to a more positive response from your co-parent. If you want to take your child to a limited-time event in your area or to a family gathering, letting your former spouse know why you want to change the schedule can make a real difference in the chance that they will accept your request for a temporary change in the custody arrangements.
Have a Good Reason
Asking for changes to the custody schedule should only occur when you have a definite and significant reason. It is expected that both you and your spouse will schedule routine appointments and activities during times when you will not be responsible for caring for your children. Avoiding frivolous requests for schedule changes can ensure that your co-parent will be more willing to accommodate you when the situation merits it.
Discuss Your Plans With Your Co-Parent First
It may be tempting to tell your family members or your children about your planned activities before clearing it with your former spouse. After a divorce, however, it is essential to make sure that your co-parent is on board with your plans and that you can arrange for the necessary changes to the schedule. If your former partner has already made plans for the time in question, it could cause serious disappointment for your children and hard feelings between you and your co-parent. Requesting the change in the schedule before letting others know about the plan is usually the best course of action for everyone involved.
It is important to remember that the custody schedule set forth by the court in your divorce agreement is binding on both you and your former partner. If you need to make changes, you should be prepared to be flexible in return to ensure the best solutions for your entire family.