The suggestions provided in this 3-part series are useful for divorce mediation when children are involved. Domestic courts will require that the parties submit a parenting plan that addresses a variety of key issues. However, a domestic judge is not going to micromanage parents. A parenting plan is your opportunity to address parenting issues that are most important to you. Some of the considerations discussed in this three part series of articles apply generally to mediating a successful parenting plan regarding children of all ages, while others are more important depending upon the age of the children.
The general aim is to try to do what is in the best interest of your children. With very young children, parents should attempt to keep consistent schedules at both homes. Consistent feeding and sleep schedules are especially important. Also, parents should try their best to communicate and support on another with development tasks such as potty training and the like. You may want to take the opportunity during mediation to discuss and come to some common ground on those types of issues.
Another very important issue to discuss in mediation is how to handle emergencies, regardless of the age of the child. Every parent wants to be made aware of an emergency. Parents should decide who will be called, when, and provide one another with contact numbers (and backup emergency contact numbers).
As a general matter, you should realize that change is inevitable and that even with the most comprehensive and thoughtful plan, unanticipated situations will occur. This is especially the case when you are crafting a shared parenting plan that is intended to suffice through an entire childhood. Thus, it is important to have a conversation regarding how you will handle the unexpected situations that your parenting plan does not address. Heading into court to resolve an unexpected conflict is normally a costly and unsatisfying experience. Including a provision that the parties agree to attempt mediation is normally a more effective option.
Please contact Lisa Nelson, Divorce Mediator at San Francisco Area Mediation today at (650) 556-880 for a free initial consultation regarding your family matter.