Matters relating to child custody, visitation, and child support are often some of the most contested issues in divorce cases. Instead of addressing the issue of a parenting plan in court, through litigation, it is often in the best interests of all parties involved, especially the children, that divorcing spouses cooperate and use mediation as a means of reaching a mutually satisfying agreement.
What is Mediation?
In mediation, you and your spouse will have an opportunity to sit with a mediator and negotiate a child custody agreement, which will include a suitable parenting plan. The mediator a neutral third party with no vested interest in either side, but rather a desire to aid both parties reach a resolution. It will give you and your spouse a chance to work things out on your own, without interference from the court.
What Should I Bring?
When attending mediation, more is always better. You might not use every document you bring, but being prepared is crucial, so be sure not to leave anything out. Here are some things you should consider bringing with you:
- Your child’s daily schedule, your own schedule, and your ex’s schedule, if you know it
- One or more proposed visitation schedules
- One or more proposed parenting plans
- A list of important issues you would like to address regarding your child
- Evidence you may have that supports your claims
How to Create a Proposed Parenting Plan
The proposed parenting plan you create should be as detailed as you are able to make it, including any and all stipulations you would like to include. You might not get everything you want, of course, but it is a good starting point for negotiations.
While some portions of this plan will be quite standard, such as staying informed of the other parent’s current address and contact information, others might be more specific. For example, if your child suffers from asthma, the parenting plan might specifically order that both parents must keep an extra inhaler on hand at all times. Technically, you can include anything you want in this proposal, but it is important to be reasonable and mindful of the other parent’s needs.
How to Handle Mediation
Mediation is about more than providing ample paperwork and drafting proposals. It is also about mental preparation. Both spouses must enter this process with an open mind and a willingness to cooperate with one another as best as they can. If either party begins with unreasonable demands and expectations, it cannot work. Being patient, courteous, and calm will go a long way for both parties and help ensure that the end result is something you can both live with. You do not want this important decision left up to a judge.
Mediators Focused on Your Child’s Best Interests
At Alternative Divorce Solutions, we understand the emotional struggle and stress that accompanies divorce. Our goal is to minimize this stress and provide a way for you and your ex to reach a solution that not only meets your needs, but protects the best interests of your children as well. We know how important this is to you, which is why we are here to put the power in your hands rather than in the hands of a judge. You understand your children better than anyone, so why not work on a parenting plan together? We can provide you with information on custody rights, parenting plans, custodial parent relocation, custody mediation, post-judgement modifications, and enforcement. You do not have to go through an ugly courtroom battle.
Call us today for a free consultation at (949) 558-2624.