Parenting plans usually have at least one fault, and that is that they can't account for every situation that occurs. Coparenting is difficult enough as it is, but when unexpected factors influence your life, they can make coparenting even harder.
The thing to remember about coparenting is that it can work well if you and your ex-spouse are willing to be flexible. In fact, if you think far enough in advance, you may even be able to build flexibility into your parenting plan.
How do you build flexibility into a parenting plan?
You build flexibility by considering all possible issues that could come up. For example, your child is likely to get sick at some point, as are you and the other parent. What happens in those situations? How do you make up for lost time on the days when you can't transfer custody of your child?
One example would be if you fall ill and can't drive your child to the other parent's home. The other parent could come to get them. On the other hand, older children may actually be helping care for an ill parent. So, how can you adjust?
Build in extra time in the parenting plan and explain what happens in these cases. If you miss three days of time, when will you make that time up? Many parents agree to grant extra time as soon as they're well or to allow the other parent to choose dates to make up lost time.
Another thing to consider is holidays. You might plan to share holidays and swap them each year, but you can't always plan for the events that are going to be taking place. Parents should build in a clause in their parenting plan that explains what should happen in once-in-a-lifetime or rare situations.
For instance, if a family member who hasn't seen the child in 10 years is in town for only one or two days, the parent who is meant to have custody may grant the other parent custody those days. It's a graceful act, and it shows compassion outside sticking to a schedule.
At the end of the day, a flexible parenting schedule is important, but you and your coparent should be willing to be flexible. Life happens, and both of you should be respectful and willing to help the other parent if and when necessary. Doing so will help your child grow up in a positive environment with both parents supporting their best interests.