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Parenting time plans: Finding the right mix of flexibility and stability

As summer quickly approaches, many families here in Fowlerville and across the country are gearing up to transition to a more relaxed summer schedule. For divorced families, there can be some anxiety during this time of the year managing custody issues. Will an ex-spouse allow the children to come on out-of-state vacation or a fishing trip that falls on the wrong weekend?

Many divorced couples find that the summer season is a real test to the parenting time agreement they have established. These agreements need to have enough built-in flexibility to account for the changing needs of the children and the parents' schedules, but also some degree of specificity regarding specific times, places and conditions for shared custody.

While parenting time agreements must always be approved by a court, the character of parenting time agreements can vary significantly from couple to couple. In this post, we describe two different approaches.

Liberal, flexible parenting time

One common form of parenting time arrangement is known as reasonable or liberal parenting time. This allows parents maximum scheduling flexibility by not specifying specific days and times regarding where children will be and when.

Flexible parenting time allows couples to avoid going back to court when their scheduling needs change. This sort of arrangement can work really well for more laid back couples.

Specific parenting time

At the same time, children also need stability and predictability, so parenting time agreements must have sufficient definition.

Another form of parenting time arrangement is referred to as specific parenting time. These schedules provide specific details about times, places and conditions in shared custody arrangements and require court approval to make any changes. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. It just depends on the needs of the couple and the needs of the children.

When a parenting time agreement is no longer effective for a family, it is necessary to make a change.

When constant disputes arise from an existing custody agreement or parenting time schedule, learn about potential options from an experienced family law attorney. In such cases, a lawyer can guide your family through the steps to find a workable solution.

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