PARENTING TIME, FORMALLY KNOWN AS VISITATION, WHEN THE CHILD IS SICK
Sure, it is great when parents are able to truly co-parent for the sake of their children. However, everyone is not so lucky. Many people spend a lot of time working on Allocation Judgments and Parenting Plans in court so that they have something to go off of, especially when the parents are unable to communicate effectively. Sometimes parents just end up with whatever the Judge orders when they cannot come to an agreement.
Power of a Good Parenting Plan
We often tell our clients that the parenting plan is mainly there for times when the parents are not getting along and are having trouble agreeing on something important. If parents are able to talk things out and take into consideration life and the changes that come along with it, then everyone is usually a lot happier.
Life Is Unpredictable — Plan for the Unexpected
For instance, let’s say the parenting plan states that the mother of the children is to have every Christmas Eve and the father is to have every Christmas Day. What happens when something unexpected happens? What if the child breaks his wrist ice skating on the morning of Christmas Eve and the parents and the child spend most of the day at the hospital. Now, mom’s family reschedules their annual Christmas Eve Lunch to Christmas Day. Is the father going to allow the child to spend lunch on Christmas Day with his mother and her family or are they abiding strictly by the Parenting Plan?
If the parents are able to communicate effectively and think about the child then they should be able to work something out to make sure the child gets to spend time with both families for the holidays, just like every year, despite the time spent in the hospital.
What about if the child is not so lucky and his parents cannot come to an agreement on parenting time?
Parenting Plan Trouble for HGTV Star
Recently an HGTV star was in the news for something somewhat similar. The mother and father follow a parenting plan that states the child is to spend Thanksgiving Day with the child’s father. The mother is to drop the child off at the father’s home the night before Thanksgiving. Apparently, the child was not feeling well and the mother decided to keep the child home and bring the child to the father the next morning. It sounds like the child was going to be traveling with the father for Thanksgiving, as the mother took the child to the airport that morning.
Failure to Follow the Parenting Plan Brings Unwanted Attention
The father was reportedly angry at the mother for not following the parenting plan. Now we do not know all of the facts of this incident but we do know one thing. These parents may have hit a bump in their co-parenting journey or they are still working on getting to a better place to co-parent more efficiently. We do not know the details but I think it is safe to say that the parents will be better off when they can both think about the child. We cannot say if one or the other is. There is just a breakdown in their communication and co-parenting if something so small as the child being sick was able to get so much media attention.
Could the parents have communicated better to come to an agreement that worked for them and the child in the event their child was not feeling well?
The bottom line is that they did not come to an agreement when life happened and therefore, they probably should have followed the parenting plan.
Parenting Plans Can Solve Problems Ahead of Time
No one wants to be told what to do when it comes to raising their child but when both parents are actively involved in the child’s life, they sometimes need some assistance. This is when the parenting plan is valuable.
PLAN FOR WHEN THE CHILD IS SICK
Some people actually put provisions for the child being sick in their parenting plans. Then when the child is sick, they still have something to follow if they cannot come to an agreement. It could be that if a child has an excessive fever the child is going to stay home and the other parent can have make-up parenting time the next week or when the child is feeling better. When parents work together to figure out solutions to possible problems ahead of time, it is very beneficial when the problems arise. There is a lot to think about when drafting a parenting plan.
In the Best Interest of The Child?
So, what is best for the children? This is a phrase that most people are familiar with and what courts are concerned with. Usually, parents parent their children freely and as long as they are not neglecting them or doing something to harm them there are no issues.
Michigan Mother Charged For Child’s Truancy
Recently there was a story out of Michigan about a mother who was not making sure her child got to school. This was a six-year-old child. The child had reportedly missed 26 days of school. These were unexcused absences. That means that the mother did not even bother to call and tell the school why the child was not there- no doctors note, nothing! This mother ended up being charged for the child’s truancy. She pled guilty in May of 2018. The Judge gave her some time to prove herself and therefore delayed sentencing but ultimately the mother was sentenced to five days in jail, had to pay a fine, and she is on probation.
This county in Michigan has a program called “Operation Graduation.” They believe children should not be deprived of education because education is good for the public at large. Parents need to make sure their children are getting to school or are at least making reasonable efforts to get them there. The county is trying to help improve school attendance for the children who are missing too many days.
Although this story came out of Michigan, everyone can relate to the message. Not getting your children to school can negatively impact you and the child.
Parenting Time Issues Arise When Child’s Needs Aren’t Met
Let’s say you are currently fighting over where the child spends most of their time. If you are having trouble getting the child to daycare or school on time each morning or are not taking them as you should be, how is that going to impact your case? Most likely the Judge is going to be pretty upset with you. Children need reliable parents. They need parents than place the child’s needs in front of their own.
Now, what if you are out of court and the child is with you primarily? Are you are having trouble getting your child to school or daycare on time or, perhaps, not taking them as you should. This could still turn into a problem as we saw in the Michigan case. The school could alert the other parent. If the school thinks you are neglecting the child they will report that. The other parent may decide the child is better off with them. The next thing you know, you are in court again.
Focusing on your children and their needs and wishes is the only way to go, especially when you are co-parenting after a divorce or split from the other parent or when you are currently involved in any sort of family law litigation involving the children.
THIS ARTICLE WAS PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED AT: https://illinoislawforyou.com/parenting-time/parenting-plan-issues-news/