One essential part of a Parenting Plan is working out the parenting time that will be spent with the children. This was formerly referred to as “Access.” In mediation we discuss what schedule works best for the children and is at the same time realistic for parents. We talk about things like the ages of the children, what has worked well so far, travel distances between the homes, and extracurricular activities for the kids. This is also when we determine if parenting time will be shared, or if one parent is going to have a majority of parenting time.
Discussing parenting time is much more than just the regular parenting schedule. In mediation you can also discuss how to share holiday time, taking vacations, and summer holidays. As your mediator I’ll also bring up other important questions such as:
- What happens if the kids are invited to a special occasion with the other parent’s family during your parenting time?
- How do you want to handle things if it’s your parenting time but you have to work, or be away for the day?
- What happens if a child is sick but they are supposed to transfer to the other parent’s home?
- How do you want to communicate about schedule changes?
- How flexible should this parenting schedule be?
- Do you want to make special provisions for time to be spent with grandparents?
By discussing these issues parents are avoiding the future conflict they could cause, as well as learning how to communicate as co-parents. This may seem daunting, but parents often work through an entire parenting plan in just one 2 hour session. As a mediator I help you work out a plan that puts children first and works well for the whole family.