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Can I modify my parenting plan out of court?

When you and your child’s other parent decided to separate, you may have been required to create a parenting plan to accompany your child custody order. Or perhaps you simply opted to create a parenting plan in order to address certain issues not contained in your child custody order. Either way, as long as your parenting plan was executed in certain ways, it is a legally binding contract.

As your child grows and your life evolves, you may find that you need to modify your parenting plan in various ways. Perhaps your child needs to you to adjust your parenting time schedule or has new medical needs that should be addressed in your agreement. Depending on the unique nature of your circumstances, you may or may not be able to modify your agreement out of court.

When preparing to modify your agreement, it is important for you and your child’s other parent to consult your attorneys. Your parenting agreement is meant to serve your child’s best interests and likely aids in protecting certain parenting rights. Modifications should only be made after your attorney has assured you that the modification will not harm your child’s interests or infringe upon your rights as a parent.

After you have spoken with your attorney, you may be able to execute an informal modification agreement. As long as the informal modification is specific, appropriate and is dated and signed by both you and your co-parent, it should remain relatively enforceable. However, some modifications and some jurisdictions may require a trip to court, so please anticipate that possibility as you move forward.

Source: Findlaw Law & Daily Life, “Legal How-To: Modifying Holiday Child-Custody Plans Out of Court,” Brett Snider, Nov. 11, 2014

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