The couple came to our office to sign the mediated separation agreement. As the Husband signed the document, he also stated aloud to his soon to be ex-Wife, “I guess this means I’ll never speak to you again”. The Husband left our office first, and the Wife’s cell phone rang: It was the Husband asking her who had the kids this coming weekend— less than five minutes had passed from the execution of the agreement until the call.
When divorcing couples have children, although it may seem as though their divorce will sever all future communication, in reality often couples end up communicating more. Divorce ends the Husband-Wife relationship, but there still remains the fact that these two people are parents to the same children.
Still what if the thought of communicating with your ex sets your teeth grinding and your palms sweating!! The feeling between the two of you is what you’ve heard described on Dr. Phil as “toxic.” In high conflict divorces, as mediators, we build into the parenting agreement ways to minimize your communication with your ex post-divorce while still giving both parents the certainty that their parenting plan will succeed and be beneficial for their children. We make the divorce agreements very specific so there are no ambiguities and thus conflicts post-divorce concerning such things as:
- Pick up and drop off times for the regularly scheduled parenting plans
- What to do to when a parent is running late
- What if a parent needs to reschedule?
- Holidays are scheduled so that no parent has to fight for a Christmas Eve or a Passover. Each parent knows who the children will be with on a given year.
- The Best Method of communication: Each couple is different: Is email or text for you? Fast, effective and limits your contact with your ex? Or do you need to phone to talk things out?
- Deadlines are put in for discussions of trips or other plans: Should a parent get one month notice of when the other parent plans to take the child away? Should summer plans be discussed in April?
- Who has the final say in a situation can be traded off: i.e. in odd-numbered years, mom picks the two weeks she prefers in summer to take the Children on a trip; in even-numbered years, it’s Dad’s choice.
- What happens when the babysitter doesn’t show?
- You’re letting our child do what? A “no” to Bungee jumping but you’re both okay with white water rafting.
This above list is just a microcosm of how many parenting decisions can be agreed to in a mediated separation agreement. It’s up to you both. The more contentious the split, the Moncler outlet more it’s comforting for a couple to know they don’t have to renegotiate every issue concerning the kids post-divorce. Of course, no parenting plan can cover everything, but all the milestones and major decisions can be put into a parenting agreement. In reality the husband who left our mediation didn’t need to call his wife to ask whose weekend it was. His wife could have said—Please read the agreement!