How Mediation Can Provide A Road Map To Successful Co-Parenting
When parents are separated, divorcing or divorced, the determination of where children will live and who will make decisions for them is critical. A child custody and visitation agreement – often called a parenting plan – is essential in families affected by the separation of the parents. While most parents put their children’s best interests first, they do not always understand the legal processes involved in arriving at child custody orders. I am family law attorney Joy Frank, and I am vitally interested in helping you resolve this important matter through family law mediation.
Why do I recommend that you use family law mediation to agree on a parenting plan? The answer is both simple and profound: This method protects children from being involved in legal battles between parents. Child custody and visitation agreements should ideally remain a private family matter taking into account the best interests of the children. The role of the family court should ideally be to approve or disapprove of parents’ agreements – not to forcibly make decisions for them.
What A Family Law Court Will Look At Regarding A Parenting Plan
If you and your child’s other parent in Westchester County, New York, or Fairfield County, Connecticut, cannot reach a reasonable, child-focused agreement about child custody, a family court or divorce court judge will be forced to decide. The judge will consider factors such as:
- A child’s age and health
- A child’s relationship with each parent and extended family members, if relevant
- A child’s preference (after a certain age)
- A child’s ties to school, home and the community
- Parents’ respective ability to care for the child
- Any evidence or history of drug or alcohol abuse by a parent
- Any history of abuse by a parent against the other parent, a partner or a child
With an experienced family law attorney as your mediator, you can anticipate and include such areas of concern in your discussions with the other parent. With my 20 years of experience as a divorce lawyer, I am well prepared to help you make appropriate agreements about:
- Your child’s physical custody (where he or she will live most of the time)
- Legal custody of your child (who will have the power to make decisions for them)
- How custody exchanges will be carried out
- How you will handle variations from the standing custody order
- How you will manage expenses outside standard child support
Get Help Without Delay If Child Custody And Visitation Are Under Discussion
Through family law mediation, you and your child’s other parent reach necessary agreements while practicing mutual respect and reasonable communications – skills that can benefit your co-parenting experiences for years to come.