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It's Back to School! Need Help Revising Your Visitation Schedule/Parenting Plan?


Yes, it’s that time of year again, it’s back to school. Revising school year schedules is a must for many parents and in particular for divorcing or divorced parents.

As a psychologically trained family law attorney and mediator, I help parents all the time with custody, visitation, and parenting plans.

In one of my “divorce story” blog posts, I briefly described helping a couple with revising a visitation schedule/parenting plan for the new school year and got lots of questions.

I thought I would address some of their questions in my blog post today.

Visitation and parenting schedules can be very complicated with divorced or divorcing parents juggling work, school, and extracurricular activities. As children age and their needs and schedules change so also do parents’ schedules change! Taking time to re-evaluate and update your plan is a daunting task for everyone. You may need to regularly update your parenting plan to ensure your children get the time they need and want with you both.

Developing a parenting plan alongside your spouse is an important step towards helping your children adjust to the changing schedule.

Although the process is primarily to divide the child custody responsibilities, it is also about showing your child that you love him/her and will always do what is in their best interest.

As a seasoned family attorney and mediator, I have some creative ideas when it comes to designing and updating parenting plans. I first encourage couples to be empathetic and considerate and to always put their child first!

Here are some of my creative co-parenting suggestions:

Imagine Your Child’s Day-to-Day Life

Traveling back and forth between two homes is not easy. It also takes time to adjust to not living with two parents. Consider what your child will gain and miss. My suggestion—minimize the disruptions and chaos as much as possible. Create a daily schedule that addresses everyone’s needs.

Think About the Logistics

If you are sharing a significant amount of parenting time, it’s important to live close by or at least to make the traveling time manageable.

Choose a Reliable Childcare Provider

Another helpful tool is utilizing a childcare provider you both trust. If you have young children, having a babysitter they are already accustomed to gives the children comfort and provides some reliable support to the family. This also minimizes the amount of change you are introducing into your child’s life.

Consider Your Child’s Schedule

Make plans with your children’s schedule in mind. If your children stay after school for extracurricular activities, keep that in mind when you are creating your parenting plan. Don’t forget to include seasonal activities as well.

You don’t want to create a parenting plan that requires your child to drop a favorite activity. Try to keep your child happy and content with as little change as possible.

Ask Your Children What They Think

Giving your children the opportunity to provide their input for the parenting agreement can be beneficial for everyone. Younger children need parents to make decisions for them. Older children feel heard when asked to be part of the process and less traumatized when they are asked to be involved. It makes things a little less scary.

Your Convenience Is not the Goal

It’s natural to create a parenting agreement that is convenient for you, but it’s not all about you. The purpose of your parenting agreement is to support your children by meeting their needs and supporting their ongoing relationship with both parents. Compromise is paramount. Sometimes sacrifice on your part is necessary.

Don’t Keep Track of Winning and Losing

I know it’s tempting to keep track of your many sacrifices and comparing your losses to your former partner’s wins. Always keep in mind this plan is about what’s best for your children. The reality is you are both going to make sacrifices. This is all part of being a good parent.

Don't Use the Schedule as Revenge

A parenting agreement is not a tool for seeking revenge. No need to sabotage your former partner’s personal life. Be reasonable and considerate and try not to play games. You are toying with your children’s happiness. Focus on your children’s needs and forget about your personal agendas.

As a family law attorney and mediator with more than 35 years of experience, I have an expertise in custody, visitation, and parenting agreements.

If you would like me to help with custody, visitation, or your parenting plan, call me. I am here to help you and your family with some inventive suggestions that will be structured to meet your needs and that of your family as they start the new school year!

I look forward to helping you and your family to create a back-to-school plan you can all live with!

Warm regards,


Call New York Divorce Attorney Lois Brenner now! She will help you with custody, visitation, and creating the right parenting plan for all your needs!

Call to schedule your consultation today! 212.734.1551.