There’s no doubt that divorce is an emotional and turbulent time for all members of the family. The couple has to find some type of common ground on a variety of issues such as the division of assets, child and spousal support. In the end a parenting plan must be worked out that is satisfactory for everyone involved. In all cases the best interests of the child must be examined thoroughly and this takes place during the mediation process. Both you and your spouse will be able to look at the child’s best interests and make a decision based on these factors alone.
Children can easily get caught up in the divorce conflict and can often become a pawn used by one or more of the parents. In order to avoid hurting the child, mediation can get both parents to look at the bigger picture. When a couple can look at the child and put aside the animosity they have towards each other, a fair and positive resolution can come about. The child should have the ability to spend time with both parents and has the right to be provided for by both of them.
When both parents have come up with an agreed-upon solution that is based on the best interests of the child or children, a parenting plan needs to be prepared. It is imperative that this plan includes clear wording so that nothing can be misconstrued later on. If anything in the mediation agreement is worded vaguely, this can cause even more conflict down the road. When the final agreement has verbal clarity, both parties know exactly what is expected and what is enforceable.
The Child’s Developmental Needs
It’s also important to look at the ages of the children involved and their developmental needs. Any special needs should also be addressed at this point. Some sort of flexibility may be required in the plan to account for the changing needs of the child as he grows up. Based on these needs, the clauses prepared in any plan must be realistic and feasible. An experienced mediator knows how to write up such a plan in a clear and distinct way according to the solutions presented by the couple, which are based on the child’s needs. With a clear-cut solution written in a clear and concise format, both parents will know exactly what is expected in terms of accessibility to the child and his upbringing.
The number of details that will need to be included in the parenting plan will often depend on the amount of animosity between the parents. In cases where there is a lot of conflict between the parents, more details may need to be added to the plan. For example, a plan may need to include the name of the parent in charge of supplying the clothes for a weekend visit when the parents are very angry with each other. In other cases, this can be worked out by the parents later if the animosity level is low.
You do not need to hire a lawyer in order to prepare a parenting plan. Mediation can bring both parties together and negotiate a plan that would be satisfactory to everyone involved. This is ultimately the best solution for any couple that is separating or divorcing when children are involved. At Santa Clara Divorce Mediation, we prepare all sorts of parenting plans, taking into account developmental needs, schedules of the parents, and practical factors. We can write multi-phase plans, multi-state plans, and even international plans.
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