What does your head tell you when it comes to resolving parent child relationships? In other words, use common sense and go with your gut instincts on resolving the matter.
Parenting plans are supposed to be the ultimate survival guide to address how you handle your future dealings with your ex. Parenting plans list each party’s respective rights to the child. Parenting plans provide for how each parent is to visit their children. Parenting plans can even go so far as to include morality clauses in the plan, and can even go so far as to require the parties to communicate solely by email. It is the intent of the court’s that you refer back to your parenting plan when conflict presents itself. Parenting plans attempt to resolve every future possible conflict that you and your ex can have.
You will be sadly mistaken if you believe your parenting plan will solve every problem that you and your children will face when dealing with your ex. Let us say that your child’s dad calls you and tells you that his father is ex is extremely sick. Your child’s dad lives in another state and he is wants your children to go visit their grandfather one last time. Let’s also say that the weekend your ex wants to visit is the weekend before his dad’s surgery. The issue, your ex wants to travel with the children on a weekend that is not his according the parenting plan. You can just imagine that your ex’s outrage if they hear the word “no” at this point.
Following the strict language of the parenting plan in this situation probably won’t feel like the right thing to do and most assuredly will lead to increased conflict with your ex. Remember, the parenting plan is the fall back position, the safe position. Your parenting plan will not handle EVERY SINGLE issue that you face when you are dealing with your ex. You have to use common sense from time to time. How would you want to be treated if you were in this situation?
Do what your head tells you to do in situations where the parenting plan is not clear, use common sense and be fair. You can be flexible from time to time. You will find that when your level of communication with your ex becomes better and better you will also find that you will be referencing your parenting plan less and less.
Matt Sossi @kidsfirstparentssecond.org