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Developing a Parenting Plan through Meditation

Developing a Parenting Plan through Meditation

Parents creating a parenting planThere are countless examples in the media (fictional and in the tabloids) that present divorce as an ugly battle where nothing is under the belt and EVERYTHING is up for grabs. It leaves a lot of unhappy married couples terrified to take the next step by filing for divorce. In reality, divorce cases can be very difficult, but they don’t have to be. In fact, many who are considering divorce are turning to mediation in order to minimize the conflict associated with the process.

Mediation can be particularly useful in cases where a couple is having difficulty agreeing upon a parenting plan that works for everyone. If you are a divorcing parent and you want to work out a co-parenting plan, but haven’t been able to come to an agreement with your soon to be ex, consider arranging for mediation.

Preparing forLegal Decision Making and Parenting Time Mediation: Creating a Parenting Plan

  1. Put together a history of the relationship between you and your ex. Start when you met, include major milestones or “changes” in the relationship, i.e. when you moved in together, when you got married, when you separated, times during which you attended marriage counseling, etc. These are all questions that the mediator will ask in order to get an idea of who you are. It is also a good way for the mediator to find out if both of you remember the same things and have the same understanding of the relationship. It’s good to review the details beforehand.
  2. Next, start a history of parenting. Include the timeshare of “parenting time” and legal decision making immediately following the separation, the first six months after the separation, any changes in this behavior from six months to a year after the separation, any significant changes in the next couple of years, and the current arrangement. Use your own information to notice any areas that will lead to obvious questions so you will have answers prepared.
  3. Next put together your own personal history. Are you remarried? Are the grandparents (of the child/ren being discussed) living or dead? Married or not? Where do grandparents live? Are they involved in the child’s life? How many siblings do you have? What is your relationship with them (historically and presently?) What type of contact do you have with extended family? What type of life did you lead as a child (be brief)? What type of life did you lead as a teenager? Young adult? Adult? What type of education do you have? What is your work history? Where do you live? Does anyone live with you? What is your drug and alcohol history? Do you have any DUIs or related hospitalizations? Is there any domestic violence in your history?
  4. Put together a few sample parenting plans. The mediator will be looking for flexibility regarding parenting issues and timesharing. How do you intend to co-parent with the other parent? Are you putting the child’s best interests ahead of what you wish for yourself? Keep this in mind when you put together sample parenting plans that range from the child living with you to one that is NOT what you want at all, but what you could live with if you absolutely had to. This particular bit of the preparation is not necessarily to show to the mediator. This is more a help for you. It will help you be prepared to go into the meeting having considered all the possibilities and with an open mind.
  5. Put together a list of your specific concerns. If you have specific concerns regarding the other parent’s parenting, make sure to have a list with you for the mediation. Have it ready for review and discussion.
  6. Also put together a list of action the other parent could take. If you have a list of specific concerns regarding the other parent’s parenting, put together another list of what that parent could do to address your concerns or minimize your concern on the matters.
  7. Put together a list similar to #5 above, but reflecting concerns that the other parent may have about your parenting. Also include what you could do to address these concerns.
  8. Prepare a list of reasons why your home is best for your child. Keep it simple. Explain why your child will be comfortable in your home. Keep in mind, that the mediator will undoubtedly feel that it is important that the child have their “own space” in your home even when they are not there.

Determining the legal decision making and parenting time in dissolution cases is usually the most difficult aspect of the proceeding. Many feel more comfortable addressing the extremely emotional issues within the confines of professional mediation. If mediation does not successfully result in agreement on all terms of the parenting plan, the unresolved issues would still be addressed in court. If you have questions about mediation or if you would like to find out if mediation would be a good idea for your situation, please get in touch with the Arizona divorce lawyers at Arizona Family Law Attorneys today.


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