Michael Lodge, NCPM, CRTP: The most important document you will have between parents who are co-parenting is the - Parenting plan. This sets the rules between parents on how they will engage as parents, working together, for the better good of the children. You may hate the other person, but you have to co-parent the child. It also provides with the tool of mediation to resolve disputes between the two parents peacefully. There are many times I am called to mediate with co-parents that want to decide on schooling, who gets to keep the dog, adjusting the parenting time for holidays or vacations, trying to decide on which doctor to take them to. Most recent is the discussion of Covid and vaccines. There are even issues between co-parents and the grandparents, or other 3rd party individuals. Mediation is a good tool and more parents should use it, even those of you who have children together but were never married. Work your conflicts out through mediation.
Whether or not divorce law in your state requires one, a parenting plan can help ensure a smooth transition between parents and children during divorce. A parenting plan has yet to become a requirement in many states when parents opt to divorce and must deal with shared parenting. Although this is the case, it is beneficial for all parties to develop a plan of this type when it comes to child custody. By having this plan in place, everyone knows what to expect and disputes are minimized.
Children need to know what to expect, especially during a divorce, and this plan helps to ensure that everything from visitation to schedule changes will be something that parents agree on. If the child has a question, he or she will receive the same answer from either parent based on this plan.
What should be included in a plan of this type?:
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Michael Lodge is a Nationally Certified Professional Mediator specializing in business disputes, as well as family conflicts. He has written three books and hosts an international podcast on IHeartRadio and other podcast media stations.