You don't have to go to court to modify a parenting plan. You can make the modifications on your own and then take it to court for approval. You shouldn't have any problems as long as your modifications don't hurt your child's welfare. Here are three tips on how to go about the modification:
Approach Your Partner with Your Concerns
If you are still on good terms with your ex, then there is nothing to stop you from approaching them directly with your concerns. In fact, many people would see that as a sign of respect and would be more inclined to listen to your concerns. Just choose a neutral ground where the two of you are likely to be free and bring up the issue. Don't be surprised if they are resistant to the idea at first; you have been thinking about it for some time, while it is probably their first time considering it.
Stick to the Important Issues
The first step is to detail all the issues that you think need to be modified. Don't approach the other parent without a clear plan of what you want to achieve because such an approach can easily degenerate into a fight when you begin talking about unrelated issues. Listing down the issues you wish to change will also help you keep your emotions in check; emotions can easily derail negotiations.
In fact, if you have other issues to discuss with the other parent, and they aren't connected to the changes you want, don't bring them up during the negotiations. For example, if you want to have the kids over the holidays because you will be away during the school days, that is what you should discuss. Don't bring up unrelated issues, such as if the other parent delayed in bringing back the kids after a sleepover weekend.
Get a Mediator to Help You
Negotiating sensitive issues with the other parent isn't always easy, especially if you aren't in excellent terms. It is not uncommon for such negotiations to start as civil discussions and turn into accusations. Such one-on-one negotiations may also take longer to wrap up. Dealing with a mediator may shorten the process and help you reach a resolution faster by forcing you to stick to the issues at hand. Therefore, you shouldget a mediator to help you with the process (attorneys make good mediators, but your mediator doesn't have to be an attorney).
For additional information, contact a family law attorney at a law firm such as The Healy Law Firm.