Devising a Parenting Plan is Not Child’s Play:
Recently clients walked into our office with their parenting plan completed. It addressed all the issues – which parent saw their child each holiday and during the regular weekdays and weekends. When we asked how the parties decided the plan, they answered, “David worked it out.”
Our first thought was that David was another mediator. But it turned out David was their ten-year-old son!
Sometimes parents, in an effort to please their children, and not say “No” to them during a painful divorce, misguiding let the children work out the parenting plan.
Although it may seem like a good idea, this puts the children in the position of taking sides. Do you really want your children to have to decide if they want to spend Christmas with mommy or daddy? Or how many summer months they’ll spend at each parent’s house?
Of course, as children become teenagers, they naturally have more input into the schedules. (And how they’re going to fit either parent into their busy social life!)
However while children are young, they should be presented with a parenting plan worked out with their parents and skilled mediators.
As mediators, we work with parents to draft a parenting plan that:
fits into each parent’s work schedule
guarantees each parent spends enough time with their children during waking hours. What good is it if you can only spend time with your children when they (or you) are asleep?
each parent feels is fair
grows as your children do. Often a plan is reevaluated when children reach a certain age, or enter nursery, middle or high school.
addresses significant parenting issues you may not have thought of: relocation, the role of future significant others in a parent’s life, grandparent involvement: the list goes on.
Devising a parenting plan is not child’s play. Hire professional divorce mediators to help you devise a plan. This ensures your children reap the rewards of a plan, without suffering the burden of creating one.