By developing a clear, easy way to request changes to the schedule, parents can plan more efficiently and support each other in the vicissitudes of family life.

Place schedule requests in separate emails to assist your coParent with efficient responses. Consider a subject line that’s simple and clear: “Schedule Change Request for Saturday 10/6.” In the body of the email be clear about whether you’re requesting a “trade” or asking for “coverage.” You determine how much disclosure you offer behind your request (none is required or needed)—some parents find it easier to make requests for work-related obligations over personal commitments.

Sign up for our newsletter today and get exclusive coParenting content.

Keep in mind that a schedule request is a request. Your coParent is free to answer “sure; happy to do that” or “no, that doesn’t work for me” or offer an alternative without justification or explanation. Make an effort to respond promptly to schedule change requests.


About Karen Bonnell

Karen has over 25 years of experience working with individuals, couples, and families facing transition, loss, stress and change. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Karen has been Board certified and licensed as an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner since 1982. She served on the faculty of University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University & Seattle Pacific University before beginning full-time private practice in 1984. She continues to be a provider of Professional Continuing Education to both health care and legal professionals.

Karen served on the Board of King County Collaborative Law and Collaborative Professionals of Washington. She is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and Academy of Professional Family Mediators.

Her work is found through Unhooked Books: