A Parenting Plan is an agreement that sets out a schedule for parenting time and living arrangements for the children, it sets out protocol and systems of communication and problem-solving when issues arise. It is customized to what your family and your children need; it can be as specific or as general you require. You can have very rigid dates and times, or it can be more open and flexible, or it can be a combination of set dates and times and open flexibility for added times.
It can cover areas such as: decision-making in specific areas, communication and mutual decision-making processes, transportation and exchanges, annual vacations, school breaks, long weekends, physical and mental health care, social activities, extra-curricular activities, contact with relatives and other people, discipline and routines, education, schools, religion, roles of new significant others, and dispute resolution process.
A parenting plan can be mutually agreed to between both parents and confirmed in writing. If parents are having difficulty reaching agreement, they can use a mediator to work out the details, or ask their lawyers to craft a parenting plan. A Parenting Coordinator is a specially trained lawyer and/or mediator who can assist parents to get through impasse and break down communication barriers to reach an agreement.
You can also ask the parenting coordinator to act as an arbitrator, where if an agreement cannot be reached, the parenting coordinator makes a ruling, just like a judge, and it becomes a binding order. There are many advantages to using a parenting coordinator over going to court, first it is a much quicker result, as there are no time delays waiting for courtrooms and judges to be available for hearings and trials, it is much less expensive, but most importantly, you spend time with your parenting coordinator discussing the issues, what you want, what you believe the children need and the parenting coordinator gets to know each of you and the children. Whereas a judge simply hears evidence through a method that is laced with procedure and technicalities and really does not get to know anything about you or the children.
If you have any questions about parenting coordination, please contact us to discuss