For many parents facing divorce, one of the most troubling aspects is the amount of control a judge can exert over the future of their children.
If this is a concern for you and your spouse, there is an option. You can avoid court interference by going to mediation to create a workable parenting plan.
What it is
A parenting plan is a legal document that sets out details about raising your children after the divorce is final. A mediator, a neutral third party, will provide guidance and help you resolve any sticking points, always keeping the best interests of the children in mind.
Points to include
Every parenting plan is unique, but each includes certain basic points:
- Child custody details and schedule
- Plan for the transition between two households
- Parental decision-making responsibilities
- Plan for communication between parents
- Plan for communication between parents and children
- Plan for communication between children and extended family
- Access to school and medical records
- Vacation and holiday schedules
- Child-raising approaches to matters such as discipline, chores and allowance
Preparing to negotiate
Preparing for the negotiations that will take place as you and your soon-to-be-ex work to develop your parenting plan is not easy. There are many things to consider, but the end result should provide a solid foundation for post-divorce child-rearing responsibilities. A parenting plan developed through mediation will not only be less costly than one created during litigation, but it will also allow you to maintain control and make the appropriate decisions for your family going forward.