Can a Shared Parenting Plan Really Work?

A key issue that often requires a lot of time to resolve in either the mediation or litigation models of divorce resolution is custody and visitation plans.  A benefit of mediating a divorce versus litigating it is that mediation empowers the couple to develop creative solutions to parenting plans, rather than disempowering a couple by having a judge impose a plan on a couple.

In my mediation practice, I have worked with couples to tailor shared parenting plans that have proven to be very successful.  Rather than settling for a standard visitation schedule of a few hours once a week and every other weekend for the non-custodial parent, shared parenting plans can dramatically increase the amount of time the non-custodial parent can spend with the children.

Specifically, some couples find that living in homes that are in the same communities permits them to fashion a shared custody plan where the children spend approximately fifty percent of the time with each parent.  The children have rooms in both parents’ home and move between homes in a seamless way that results in maximizing the time spent with each parent.  Finally, a couple with adequate individual incomes can opt to waive child support completely or modify the amount paid significantly if they are engaging in a parenting plan that shares custodial time equally.

Visitation schedules for the non-custodial parent can be expanded to include two overnights during the week or an additional overnight during the week for which the non-custodial parent does not have a weekend visitation.  The variations are limited only by the creativity of the couples engaged in the collaborative process which takes place during mediation.

It is important to focus on the children, their ages and abilities to accept and live with shared parenting plans.  For some the more traditional parenting plan will serve the family better than one in which the children are moving during the week between the parents’ homes.  This is the hallmark of mediation in that it encourages the collaborative exploration of solutions that are tailored to the specific needs and desires of the family.

Should you have any questions regarding the divorce mediation process, please visit my website at li-divorcemediation.com for more information and/or contact me at dwagner@li-divorcemediation.com.

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