Maybe you and your ex negotiated a specific parenting schedule, or perhaps you went to court and had a judge develop a parenting plan for you. The two of you should do your best to adhere to the existing schedule to the best of your abilities.
However, there are circumstances in which you may need to adjust your parenting schedule. Maybe one of you has unexpected overtime at work or comes down with a terrible case of strep throat. How do you adjust your parenting schedule for those unexpected changes?
Make one-time changes when necessary
In the situation where someone can’t be with the children for some reason, the parents can adjust their schedule, possibly by specifically moving one parent’s time with the children to a later date that will better work for the family. Such changes are the best way to handle illnesses and other one-time changes.
Ask for a modification
When there has been a significant change to your circumstances, such as a new job that changes your schedule, you may qualify for a formal custody modification. You can file paperwork and go back to court, either with the cooperation of your ex or in a litigated hearing.
A judge can update your parenting plan to reflect what schedule would actually work for your family. Formal modifications can also be the best solution when your ex doesn’t cooperate with you or frequently cancels your parenting time over scheduling issues without any effort to allow make-up time.
Recognizing when informal changes are no longer the best solution and modification is necessary can help parents minimize conflict as they share responsibility for their children.