When you divorced your child’s other parent, chances are good that you were required to either mutually agree upon the terms of a parenting plan or that the court dictated the terms of one on your family’s behalf. Parenting plans in Georgia have been required in co-parenting cases since January 1, 2008, as they serve a vital role in managing the realities that co-parents and their children face.
Yet, there are significant drawbacks to the legally-enforceable nature of parenting plans. For example, they remain enforceable by either party, even if their terms clearly don’t meet the children’s evolving needs any longer. As a result, if one parent wants to modify the agreement and the other doesn’t see a need, the parent who has concerns will need to petition the court to have it changed.
If a modification is necessary
As a child’s best interests evolve and a family’s circumstances change, co-parents are broadly empowered to modify the terms of a parenting plan, provided that they can agree on the terms. At that point, they can simply reach out to a family legal professional to formalize the adjustments and submit them to the court. Absent that step, the original text will remain enforceable.
If co-parents can’t agree, the one who feels that a change is necessary will need to ask the court to grant a modification request. This request will only be issued in favor of the petitioning parent if there has been a significant change in circumstances since the original order was handed down and if the change requested is in the affected child’s best interests.
Understanding the process involved in modifying a parenting plan post-divorce can help parents to make informed decisions about their rights and obligations under the law. Seeking legal guidance is often a great step in the right direction.