One of the most contentious areas of a divorce involves custody and visitation. In divorce mediation, we prefer the term, “co-parenting plan” or, “parenting plan.” We don’t believe that you visit your child, you are their parent. You often hear of couples going back and forth in court, spending thousands upon thousands of dollars fighting for time with their children. This conflict can last years and takes a big toll on the entire family, including the child stuck in the middle. So how do you create co-parenting plans that work? How can you figure out a schedule that doesn’t end up in front of a judge?
When both parties are able to work together to create a schedule that works for everyone, it is a win-win. I know what you are thinking. If the parties could work something out, then they wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place. True. That is where the assistance of an experienced family mediator comes in. Divorce mediators are specially trained in conflict resolution. They are a neutral third party that can help walk you and your ex through the process of creating a parenting plan and navigate through any roadblocks that may occur.
The process isn’t easy by any means. There may still be disagreement or issues to work through. However, working with a mediator in a room together is a lot better than arguing through each other’s attorneys and ending up in family court. In mediator, you have hours to talk about challenges, schedule concerns, and how to handle different situations that may arise. Your mediator will get to know your family, can make suggestions on what has worked in the past, and assist you in creating a mutually beneficial plan. When you go to court, you have mere minutes to state your case. The judge doesn’t know you and doesn’t have the time or interest to get to know your situation in detail.
Characteristics of Co-Parenting Plans that Work
Every situation is different and unique. One plan that works great for one family won’t work for another. However, there are some common themes of co-parenting plans that work for couples. They include:
- Agreement terms are clear but flexible.
- Both parties understand that life circumstances can change and have a game plan when that happens.
- The parties wish to put the children’s interests first.
- The parties understand that relationships with both parents are important.
- They do their research before coming into mediation on what they want and what they are willing to negotiate on.
- They are open to hearing the opinions of the other party.
- They come back to mediation to modify the agreement as the child grows.
If you are interested in creating a co-parenting plan with us, give us a call at (858) 736-2411 or contact us online. Our consultations on completely free, and we are happy to share any information to assist you and the other parent.