As a family mediator here in California, I’ve seen firsthand how co-parenting can be a challenging journey for many families. Co-parenting is an ongoing process of learning, adjusting, and adapting to new situations, and it can be particularly difficult when there are disagreements between parents. But the good news is that there is a solution: California co-parenting mediation.
Co-parenting mediation is a process that helps parents resolve disputes and create a parenting plan that works for everyone involved, including the children. It’s a collaborative and non-adversarial approach that focuses on finding common ground, rather than highlighting differences.
Here are some of the ways that co-parenting mediation can help:
It always comes back to Communication! Effective communication is key to successful co-parenting. Mediation provides a safe and neutral environment where parents can express their concerns, fears, and hopes. A mediator can help facilitate a productive dialogue between parents by ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to speak and be heard. Moreover, our mediators here at West Coast Family Mediation Center have been helping clients through co-parenting plans for over a decade. We can help brainstorm and share how we have seen other families successfully co-parent after separating. Us Californians do not tend to follow norms; we are a unique State full of unique families will all sorts of different jobs and businesses. The standard schedules often just don’t fit. We are here to help you try out various options until we find the one that fits your family perfectly.
Co-parenting mediation is centered around the best interests of the child. The mediator will work with parents to create a parenting plan that prioritizes the needs of the children. This includes determining parenting time, decision-making responsibilities, and addressing any specific needs or concerns of the children. It is important to remember, the best interests of the children may not always align with what one parent wants. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your children is let go of what you thought it might look like. Further, and most importantly, while it may sound like the right thing to do is to let your children follow their own schedule, unless your children are 17 or 18 years old, that amount of pressure is too much. It forces your children to “choose” between their parents. Which, no matter how you feel about your ex, that person is still your kids’ parent and still one of the two most important people in their lives. Keep that in mind throughout the negotiations.
Co-parenting mediation allows for flexibility in parenting arrangements. This means that parents can work together to create a plan that accommodates the changing needs of their children and their family. This may look like a parenting plan that includes three different schedules based on one of the parents continuously changing shifts (think of a policeman or a fireman, both professions require their employees to rotate through three different schedules throughout the year).
We can (and do) plan for all three and what your parenting plan will look like each time there is a shift change. Alternatively, maybe you just want to provide flexibility because one or both parents must travel for work. We can account for that as well. This is YOUR family and YOUR children. We want this plan to fit YOU, we are under no obligation to make sure this plan is one of the common few we see come out of the courtroom. It can be as unique as you are.
Mediation is nearly always less expensive than going to court, and it is a quicker process as well. This can save families time and money, and it can also help to reduce stress and tension between parents. We can work on an hourly structure or on a flat fee structure. There is no need to attend court hearings and pay for hours of your attorney’s time to sit in a court room and wait for your turn. Instead, you and your co-parent will join a mediation session together, for a couple of hours, and then we, as your mediator will draft up your final agreements. No court hearing necessary.
Mediation is a confidential process, which means that anything discussed during the session cannot be used in court. This provides a safe space for parents to speak openly and honestly without fear of their words being used against them.
Co-parenting can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be a source of constant conflict and stress. Co-parenting mediation can help parents work through their differences and create a plan that works for everyone involved. As a mediator, I am here to help facilitate a productive and collaborative dialogue between parents. Let’s work together to find common ground and create a better future for your family. Contact West Coast Family Mediation Center for California co-parenting mediation.
by: Jennifer Segura