Mediation has become a popular alternative to traditional divorce in court. One reason is that this is a private process ideal for developing workable parenting plans.
While preparing for your mediation session, remember to jot down your thoughts and preferences regarding child custody and parenting time.
An easier process
As you and your spouse work together through mediation to reach a divorce settlement satisfactory to you both, your parenting plan becomes a major focus. Unlike litigation, where every detail of your divorce is open to public scrutiny, mediation sessions take place behind closed doors. The private, more relaxed atmosphere makes the decision-making process much easier to manage for both parents.
Areas to cover
Prepare for the parenting plan discussion by writing down your ideas so that you do not forget anything. Your parenting plan covers many areas:
- Child custody details and schedule
- Childcare decisions
- Child-raising approaches, including disciplinary measures
- Transitioning between homes
- Holiday and vacation time planning
- Decision-making responsibilities
- Communication between parents and children
What to avoid
Do not use vague language in your parenting plan. The points you set down should be specific. Do not forget to include a section about medical care for your children, including parental decision-making rights, treatment and costs. Remember that the parenting plan can also include restrictions on travel so that neither parent can take the children out of the state without the other parent's permission. Additionally, do not forget to include post-divorce guidelines for managing disputes concerning your parenting plan.
Consider your goals
Remember that mediation puts you in control of all aspects of your divorce. You must express your ideas about parenting time and offer an efficient proposal with regard to the raising of your children. Presenting your thoughts clearly also helps the mediator to better understand the goals you have in mind.