Using a Parenting Plan as part of your lifestyle change, ought to be seen and welcomed as a managing tool.
Just like a Personal Assistant will assist a Director in his/her daily tasks, appointments and travel needs, a Parenting Plan is similar in that it helps coordinate the needs of a changing family.
The norm is that parents enter into a Parenting Plan as part of a divorce decree, but Parenting Plans should be engaged in on a yearly basis. Whether as per calendar year or school year, but definitely yearly to review the required changes by acknowledging that updates in the Parenting Plan are part of your life.
Being a parent, means among other things, being flexible, adaptable and ready for change, because that’s what it means to have children.
You can’t plan birthday parties, sleep overs, being sick, having a row with a friend, given detention (yeah, this may happen), given too much homework (that will definitely happen), finding out that a project is due tomorrow (Oh, pls no!!!). Do you get my point? Children, although fully dependent on their parents have a life of their own. When they are young though, this means needing mom/dad a lot.
So a Parenting Plan sets the tone for planning around major dates, events and holidays, it is impossible to have a Parenting Plan which can be interpreted as set in stone, yet many parents react to it this way.
Co-Parents need to use a Parenting Plan, just like the Director needs a PA, to keep track, organise and adjust needs of all parties concerned to minimise the chaos of a family who is no longer under one roof.
SADSA, which strives in being solution focus, has designed a Parenting Plan Partner model which understands the needs of a changing family and aims to raise awareness of the need of such an approach.
So if you are separated parents, do yourself a favour, get a Parenting Plan Partner to re-evaluate your changing needs on a year to year basis. Should a conflict arise during that year, then call a Parenting Plan Mediation meeting for the pressing matters needing resolution. It doesn’t mean you are bad parents. It means you are parents with much on your plate and there is only so much one can manage on their own.
With SADSA as a Parenting Plan Partner, we aim to guide parents to shift their focus from a Parenting Plan to making Plans being Parents, because Love is not court ordered.