The goal of parenting plan mediation is to empower parents develop their own plan that will work for their children. Many states are now requiring that a parenting plan be in place prior to the finalization of a divorce.
Divorce/Separation can be a time that feels powerless for parents. In mediation, parents maintain the ability the make important decisions for their children without the interference of the legal system. The parents get to set the stage. Litigation can be stressful, expensive, and contentious. At a time when emotions and legal fees are running high, most parents do not want the judge to be making binding decisions about custody, residential schedules and other important issues in their children's life. At times, depending on the complexity of the situation, this may be the most appropriate route. Using mediation to navigate through issues such as residential schedule can be beneficial to the whole family system as nobody knows their children as well as their parents do. In mediation, it is the parents who are able to retain control over the process and over the decisions that are reached. This process honors each parent's unique contribution to their children's upbringing.
As a mediator, I guide parents in a neutral role with the goal of establishing a child centered parenting plan that enables both parents to be actively involved in their children's lives.
Mediation is always voluntary and confidential. The focus of mediation is to create a plan that is best for the children. Research consistently shows that in non-abusive situations, it is best for children to have access to both of their parents.
I aim to minimize acrimony, if any, to help parents build a new relationship based on parenting.
Sessions are typically 1.5-2 hours long. On average, it can take 2-3 sessions to create the parenting plan. Sometimes the process may take longer.
Upon completion of the mediation, I always encourage couples to have their parenting plans reviewed by independent counsel before signing it. There are many lawyers in the area including collaborative attorneys who are well versed in the mediation process and able to do this.
I have completed the KCDRC training, Collaborative Law training, Parenting Plan mediation training as well as training with Karen Bonnell.