Parenting Plans – What is a Minor Modification?

Anne B. Bennette, Edmonds Lawyer

When the Court enters a Final Parenting Plan, it is expected that it will remain in place until the child (or children) are no longer dependent.  For that reason, it is important to have a comprehensive Final Parenting Plan addressing the residential schedule, holidays, and other provisions as the children age no matter how young they are at the time of entry.

However, as the years go on, it is certainly possible that something might need to change with respect to the residential schedule, holidays, or other provisions – particularly if the plan was entered into when the child (or children) were very young.  In Washington State any request for court-ordered changes to a Parenting Plan are either considered a ‘major modification’ or they are considered ‘a minor modification.’

A minor modification does not require the same level of proof as a major modification.  Minor modifications may also be called ‘adjustments’ to the parenting plan.  For example, if your co-parent obtained new employment and now must work on a night that they have a weekly dinner visit, it would be a minor modification to ask for either a different night dinner visit or a change to the plan solely to accommodate that ‘substantial change in circumstance.’  This is a significant change in a parent’s life that makes one provision of the current plan impractical.

Again, changes to parenting plans are disfavored as the Court likes to instill in children a sense of stability and routine, so changes must be based on a ‘significant change’ even if the requested change to the parenting plan may be considered minor.  

Our Family Law Group is available to assist you with all family law related matters including dissolutions, separations, support, and parenting plan matters. 

To learn more about Parenting Plans – What is a Minor Modification?, please contact Beresford Booth at or by phone at (425) 776-4

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