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How Should my Child’s Parenting Plan Change as He or She Develops?


As a parent, you know children go through stages. It can feel like just yesterday, you were dropping your child off at preschool and today, you are narrowing down college choices.

If you are divorced for a long time, you might find that the parenting plan you originally created is no longer appropriate for your child. When this is the case, work with an experienced family lawyer to modify the parenting plan to better fit your child’s best interest. If your former spouse does not agree to your proposed parenting plan change, you will need to demonstrate to the court why the change is in your child’s best interest. Think about the following as you develop your petition for your modification:

Young Children Need Routine and Consistency

For a toddler or preschooler, a predictable routine feels safe. When you are developing a parenting plan for a young child, maintaining his or her established routine and sticking to it rigidly are often priorities.

As a child grows older, a strict routine is not as important as it is for a younger child. If you are seeking a new parenting plan that alternates weekends or certain weekdays between parents, consider citing that your original plan was created when your child was much younger and that the change you are seeking will not harm his or her stability or relationships.

When Special Needs Arise, your Parenting Plan has to Change to Accommodate Them

If your child is classified as needing special education services, your parenting plan might have to change to make it possible for your child to receive the services he or she needs. This could be because your child has to change schools or because he or she needs to attend regular therapy appointments. You might also have to change the parenting plan to ensure that your child is in a more accommodating home environment after school and on weekends.

Teenagers have More Personalized Needs than Younger Children

There are many specific factors used to determine an appropriate parenting plan for a child, including the child’s academic needs. When an adolescent reaches high school, his or her grades, school involvement, and athletic performance are suddenly an investment in his or her future opportunities, rather than a way to gauge his or her progress and socialize with friends.

You might need to alter your child’s parenting plan to move him or her to a more academically rigorous school or one that provides stronger opportunities for athletic and other extracurricular achievement. 

Work with an Experienced Orlando Family Lawyer

As your child grows, his or her parenting needs change. When they do, you can modify your parenting plan to provide the type of support your child needs at his or her current stage. To learn more about parenting plans and how to modify yours, contact The Law Office of Steve W. Marsee, P.A. to set up your initial consultation with an experienced Orlando family lawyer.



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