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Can I modify a parenting plan without going to court?

On Behalf of | Aug 31, 2023 | Child Custody and Visitation

If you have resolved to divorce with children in the picture, one of the most important subjects you’ll need to address is the children’s post-divorce living arrangements. Most often, the court encourages parents to work this out on their own before presenting the final agreement before the judge for adoption.

But you may reach a point where the agreed parenting plan no longer works. Whatever the changes in circumstances are, you and your ex might consider modifying the existing plan. But can you do this out of court?

Potential pitfalls of overlooking the court when modifying a parenting plan

If you and your co-parent are on the same page, you may be tempted to modify a parenting plan without involving the court. However, this is not always a good idea. Here are two possible pitfalls you need to be aware of if you take this route:

Whatever arrangement you come up with might not be recognized by the court

First, you need to understand that the court will only recognize and enforce what it has approved. Thus, if the parenting plan you arrive at is not signed by the judge, then you may have no recourse should the other parent change their mind about it.

The risk of one parent overstretching their boundaries

The modified plan might work well at first, but things can quickly take a nasty turn if one parent begins to overstretch their entitlements. They might start coming up with excuses here and there – “I couldn’t drop Jack over because I woke up late.” Over time, these excuses might interfere with one party’s parenting time.

Consider legal guidance if you are unsure whether you need to go back to court before making changes to your parenting plan.