Establishing a child custody, child access, and visitation arrangement (often known as a Parenting Plan) does not need to be a contentious battle. Family mediation serving Anne Arundel County can help the parents reach solutions that work for both households. During mediation, the parents may be reminded that they must come to agreements that are for the child’s best interests, which may not necessarily serve the interests of both parents. The mediation process can help parents resolve a number of disputes.
Decisions for the Child’s Upbringing
Legal custody refers to the parental right and responsibility to make major decisions on behalf of the child. These include decisions regarding the child’s education, health, religion/religious training, and welfare. During mediation, both parents can explain their preferences and goals for the child’s upbringing, and work toward solutions that benefit the child’s well-being. The parties can also define a dispute resolution agenda to help the parties work through future problems should one arise.
Access to the Child
A lawyer may recommend mediation for child custody disputes that involve access to the child. It is becoming more and more common for parties to share custody. Each family is different and there are various schedules such as “week on/week off”, 2/2/3, and many other alternative time sharing on 50/50 access. Even if the parents agree on the child’s primary residence, disputes may still arise regarding the parenting time or visitation schedule. For example, both parents may demand access to the child on holidays, birthdays, and weekends. Since ongoing access to both parents is generally beneficial for children, compromises often involve rotating weekends, holidays, and school vacations.
Access to Information About the Child
Mediation can help the parties think about and agree on how to exchange information about the childnre. Each parent should have unfettered access to school records, medical records, and similar information. In mediation, the parents can agree on appropriate methods of exchanging information and which information should be exchanged. This includes exchanging parent/teacher conferences, doctor’s appointments, report cards, interim reports, activity schedules, etc.
Uniformity of the Homes
Household uniformity is a crucial issue in child custody. Children need stability, regardless of whether are young, tweens, or teenagers. Children who are expected to follow two different sets of household rules, abide by different bedtimes and curfews, and meet two different standards of expectations can become confused, frustrated, resentful, and act out. Children who are in non-divorce homes are good at dividing and conquering parents. Children of divorce are better because parents may not have a good relationship. Mediation can help identify this issue so that the children know the parents are unified even if they are no longer together. By considering these issues during the Parenting Plan stage, the parties will