Ask An Attorney: How Can a Parent Change the Parenting Plan?

Welcome to Ask an Attorney. Today’s question comes from Roseburg, Oregon.

Parents are divorced. They have a child. The parenting plan gives Mom the right of first refusal to sit for the child, and Dad no longer wants to honor that. So the question is, how can this couple change their parenting plan?

My name is Steven Leskin. I am a divorce and family law attorney in Portland, Oregon. You can find me at If you like what you see here, please like, subscribe, or comment below. Your engagement is valued.

So again the question is, how do you change your parenting plan? So if you want to change custody – like from Mom has custody, and Dad wants to challenge that and take custody post-divorce – you’d have to show a significant change of circumstance that would justify changing custody, and that the change would be in the best interest of the child. To change a parenting plan, you only need to show that the change is in the best interest of the child.

So in this case, Dad would have to show that it’s no longer in the child’s best interest for Mom to have right a first refusal. It still begs the question of what changed. Presumably, it was in the best interest of the child when the parenting plan was agreed to or litigated. So the Dad would still need to answer the question: What changed that this is no longer in the best interest of the child? And in this particular case, it’s probably going to be kind of a hard, high burden to get over. If Mom has right of first refusal to sit for the child during Dad’s parenting time, there had better be a good reason for it. That just sounds like a sensible solution, but again I don’t know the facts. All I know is that particular question.

Once again my name is Steven Leskin. I am a divorce attorney in Portland. You can find me at You can also reach me at 971-930-4716.

Thanks for watching.

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