Some times it becomes necessary to revise the parenting plan you created as you and the other parent were going through your divorce proceedings. A parenting plan cannot cover every aspect of life and cannot anticipate how real life will change over the years. There’s no problem with revising your parenting plan as long as it continues to put your children's best interests first.
When it comes time to negotiate with the other parent about changes to the parenting plan, hopefully, you are both on the same page about the changes. If the other parent is not open to the revisions, you may need to enter into some negations change the parenting plan en your children’s behalf.
REASONS TO CHOOSE OR MODIFY A PARENTING PLAN
Usually, parents choose a parenting plan when there is a significant change to the children’s lives оr the parent's lives. Whether it is a change to the basic custody schedule or a topic in the parenting plan almost every part of the plan is open to revisions, as long as you can show the court that the changes benefit your children
Some of the more common reasons to modify a parenting plan include:
- You or the other parent remarry
- You or the another parent must relocate to another city or start
- You or the other parent are deemed unfit to raise the children
- Your children have grown and need a different schedule for school or activities
- Your children request a different schedule that will fit their lives better
- You or the other parent become disabled or unemployed
USE NEGOTIATION TECHNIQUES
Negotiating a parenting plan is not unlike working out a business deal. Flexibility, compromise and professional behavior can get you what you need in the business world, so use the same skills and techniques to work with the other parent.
Here are negotiation techniques borrowed from the business world that you can apply to your negotiations with the other parent:
- Approach negotiations with an open mind. Negotiating means some give-and-take, so if you go into the discussion determined not to give an inch, you’re already doomed the negotiations to failure.
- Listen to the other parent’s ideas very carefully, then ask as many questions you can think of. Let the other parent know it's not exactly what you’re looking for and offer a counter proposal.
- Don't agree to the first proposal the other parent makes. Chances are the other parents is asking for more than is expected and is setting the stage for negotiations.
- Always ask for more than you expect to get. After all, you might get it and if not, it opens up communication for negotiation. It also creates a climate of compromise you can give some things up without sacrificing the core of your proposal.
- Present several proposals that you can live with. When you give the other parent a choice between options, it can reduce the chances for deadlock. It also appeals tp the other parent’s ego when he or she can choose an option that seems best rather than be told their ideas are not acceptable.
- Feed the ego a little. When the other parent gets a few concessions it makes him or her feel like they haven’t given into your demands completely. Creating a place for easy acceptance without bruising the ego by giving small concessions here and there. This leads to more successful negotiations.
- When you give a concession, ask for one in return. Point out that if you do something for them, what are they willing to do for you? It opens up the conversation to negotiation and compromise instead of deadlock.
- Be prepared to walk away from negotiations. When you give the impression to the other parent that you are prepared to walk away if you can't get what you want, it may loosen any deadlock you are experiencing. Turning things over to the attorneys or a family court reduces the power for you both in deciding what is best for your children, but you must be prepared if it comes to that.
IMPORTANCE OF NEGOTIATIONS
Your original parenting plan most likely wоn't fit your family's needs forever, so you and the other parents must negotiation changes. You owe it to your children to work together to provide the best possible environments for your children for open communication.
In order to negotiate effectively you must have a certain level of trust and commitment established so you can agree on the best way to parent your children and to revise the parenting plan as your family changes and grows. Even though you are no longer together, you will always be partners when it comes to providing a supportive and caring life for your children.