More and more parents are looking for ways to avoid lawyers and court when facing divorce or separation. And more and more, they are turning to mediation.
Mediation can help parents create successful parenting plans, even when the parents don’t seem to be getting along very well. The mediator is a neutral participant who works with the parents to help them keep their focus on the children and develop options they might not have thought of.
Many parents have preconceived notions about what a parenting plan should look like. They’ve seen examples on television, in the movies and in other families. One of the most common parenting plans that people perceive as “normal,” is that the children are with one parent most of the time, and with the second parent every other weekend and a couple of weeks in the summer.
As well, parents often come to the table with the notion that one parent will “win” and one parent will “lose.
Both of these myths are outdated and untrue. Parenting plans can be as unique and creative as the people who come up with them, and they can be designed so that everybody wins.
Mediators will encourage parents to be creative and flexible. And each parent is given the opportunity to talk about what they would really like to see in a parenting plan and parenting schedule, to consider what the children might want or need from the parenting plan, to work out solutions that meet everyone’s needs and desires, and to develop a plan that is unique to them.
There is no one parenting plan that works for all families all of the time. Allow the possibilities to grow!
© 2008, Mary Wollard, Family Solutions Center, LLC