MEDIATION/CREATING A PARENTING PLAN

Many separating and divorcing parents (as well as parents who have never been married) come to me for help crafting their parenting plan. Some come on their own, while others are referred by attorneys or attorney mediators who know that a mental health professional (with a background in family systems and child development as well as expertise in separation and divorce) is best qualified to help craft a plan that will be in your child/ren’s best interests now and into the future. Sometimes a couple will work with me independently of any legal process. Other times we work in parallel or in collaboration with a couple’s attorneys and/or mediator.

Court generated Custody Agreements are basic– they typically address the weekly and holiday schedules and decision-making on major issues, but not much else. They are also static, so they don’t change as the needs of a family change. A good parenting plan is a living document. It is thoughtfully crafted, comprehensive, and written in such a way that it can meet the evolving needs of a developing family.

Whether I am working with you in an official mediation capacity (with a Mediation Retainer Agreement), or more informally, my typical protocol involves:

  • An initial joint session for the three of us to meet and for both of you to get a sense of what it would be like to work with me
  • Two individual appointments (one for each of you), so that each parent has a chance to share their perspective and concerns
  • A series of meetings (typically one and a half or two  hours in length) in which we work through the clauses of your parenting plan (you can find a “Parenting Plan Checklist” in the “Forms” section of this site)
  • Couples differ widely in how involved they want their attorneys to be in the process of crafting a parenting plan.  You are free to consult your attorney/s as we go, or wait and bring them a completed plan for review and final drafting.  If you are divorcing, it will then  become the Custody portion of your Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA)