Most clients that choose mediation or the collaborative law processes prioritize the health and welfare of their children because they understand that their children continue to need their love, support and guidance when separating into two homes. Sometimes professional help is needed when developing the best possible co-parenting agreement for the children. The agreement addresses how major decisions will be made, day-to-day decisions, support and the parenting schedule moving forward. (This schedule is often referred to as a parenting access plan. Use of the word “visitation” is outdated because it takes away from the many roles a parent plays in the lives of the children). In arriving at a schedule that works for the family, we try to use a practical approach that considers the parents’ work/travel schedules, anticipated proximity and the children’s school and activity schedules.
In both the mediation and collaborative law processes, parents and the mediator or collaborative attorneys look at options that will help create stability and security in the newly structured family. The goal is to consider the unique circumstances of each family and develop an effective co-parenting relationship. The goal is to have a structure in place for effective communication and cooperative decision-making.
- Specific educational and/or medical needs of each child;
- The children’s activities and related planning;
- The regular weekly schedule and the schedule for birthdays, holidays and vacations;
- How best to communicate and ensure that both parents are informed on issues regarding the children’s development;
- Caretaking issues;
- Cashflow and budgeting related to the Children’s expenses;
- Parenting Plan Review.
- Unique issues to the family.
For more information on effective co-parenting during and after separation and divorce please read the following article on my website entitled: Because it is for the kids – Building a Secure Parenting Base After Separation.