I remember when the default custody arrangement had one parent as the custodial parent, and the other parent was known as the “Disneyland parent.” They had their children every other weekend, and maybe once during the week for dinner. Today it is more common to see joint parenting time consist of one week on, and one week off or “two-two-five-five” time, both of which gives each parent equal time with their children.
We’ve learned a lot as a society about the impact of divorce on children, and we’ve made great strides toward improving the situation. Part of that is the creation of parenting plans that are more complicated than the old “Disneyland parent” model but address the needs of the kids.
If you want a parenting plan that does all that, but is also realistic and will stand the test of time, mediation — with the help of related professionals — is the right setting for you.
As mediators, we’re trained in the many ways to handle parenting plans. I prefer to work with another trained mediator who is also a mental health professional and works with children and parents all the time. They are always up to date on what is the best interest of the children.
Over the years, I have seen many amazing things that can happen in a meeting with a professional who works with both the children and parents. They can help parents with communication and listening skills that are beneficial to the whole family. I have seen parents come into a meeting unable to communicate at all — and two hours later, they are talking to each other for the benefit of their children.
That’s why I think it’s so important to maintain a professional network and attend conferences all over the country. Besides, you never know when a client will need a good mediator in Houston or Fargo.