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Parenting Plans in Mediation
by Kim Hess

A parenting plan is a written agreement on parenting schedules. A parenting plan is also called a parenting timeshare. A typical parenting plan includes lists where your children will live and when they will live with each parent. A parenting plan also includes how special occasions like birthdays, Christmas and summer vacations will be divided between you and your ex-spouse. A parenting plan will help provide stability to your children’s lives.

Several factors should be kept in mind when making a plan:

Your children’s needs.

When writing a parenting plan, focus on the needs of your children.  The plan should be a reflection of your children’s best interest and not yours.

A detailed plan.

Parenting plans can be brief but avoid vagueness. Vague parenting plans could potentially lead to more problems later on such non-compliance and frustration.

Holidays, vacation times, and special occasions.

The plan must include a specific division of holidays and vacation times.  Will the kids stay with you on Christmas Eve and with your ex on Christmas morning? Is there a chance that you will celebrate their birthdays with your ex or will there be  two different celebrations?

Restrictions.

Some personal restrictions may also be included in the plan like adult parties, exposure to drinking, exposure to drugs drugs, out-of-town travel and overnight stays with new partners.

Regular Meetings.

You can also include whether you should have a regular schedule of meetings for discussions of upcoming events, school-related concerns, sports events (if your child is an athlete). You can also decide if you want your children to undergo counseling sessions to help them adjust with the divorce and new life after the divorce.

Future Mediation Date.

While both parents are getting used to the implementing the parenting plan, it is possible that you will encounter problems or issues. Future mediation dates can help resolve unforeseen problems. It is also important that you include a schedule for a future mediation dates to review and discuss possible changes or amendments to the plan.


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