Developing a parenting plan that works for you, your soon-to-be-ex and your children is a major undertaking. You want your voice heard when divorce mediation gets underway.
Be methodical. Organize your thoughts in advance, and set them down on paper so that you are well-prepared when the parenting plan discussion begins.
Understanding the process
Mediation, as opposed to litigation, is a process conducted in private outside the courtroom. A trained mediator will provide guidance as you and your current spouse work together to develop a divorce agreement satisfactory to you both. Mediation is a shorter, less expensive and less stressful divorce option compared to the traditional courtroom process. It is also proven to be less traumatic and burdensome for children, which is one reason why the process has gained in popularity.
Remembering important points
Creating a workable parenting plan will be among the most important tasks for you and your spouse to take up during your divorce mediation sessions. The plan will incorporate many points:
- Details about child custody and the visitation schedule
- Plan for the transition between homes
- Parental decision-making rights and responsibilities
- Access to medical and school records
- Division of holiday and vacation time
- Communication plan for parents and children
- Child-rearing approaches, such as rules for discipline, chores and allowance
- Responsibility for ordinary child-raising costs, such as food and clothing
Keep in mind that the parenting plan you create will be a comprehensive document that a judge will eventually review and sign.
Do not use vague language in the parenting plan. Ensure that the wording is clear to avoid any misunderstandings. You should also include a regular schedule for reviewing the document and discussing any revisions. Creating a good parenting plan takes considerable thought, but an end result that incorporates many of the ideas that you feel are important is your reward for embracing thorough advance planning.