In Part 2 of mediating a good parenting plan video series, Divorce Mediator, Barry Davis goes into more details, including addressing physical and legal custody, developing a weekly schedule, planning for vacations and holidays, and building flexibility for change into the parenting plan.
Physical custody is who has responsibility for the children, either directly or indirectly (such as when they are at school). Legal custody determines who has the decision making capability for things such as education, medical and religious choices for the children. A good parenting plan addresses whether either or both of these will be joint custody or sole custody.
A good parenting plan considers a weekly schedule which has a significant impact on both parents and children. We don’t want to apply the same model for every family (which is generally what the courts have to do). As a divorce mediator, we come up with a customized, individualized parenting schedule that makes sense for everyone involved, taking into consideration school schedules, work schedules, the child’s activities and the flexibility available to parents in order to minimize the back-and-forth transition time for the children and to maximize time spent with each parent.
Vacations and holidays supersede the regular weekly schedule as they are special times when children and parents get to spend significant time together. A good parenting plan balances the time between each parent and avoids the stress of who gets the children and when.
A good parenting plan also builds flexibility into the parenting plan. I like to use a flexibility clause which allows parents appropriate flexibility either on a one-time basis or an on-going basis as long as both parents agree ahead of time.
These are four of the most significant issues of a good parenting plan that we walk through in divorce mediation. In our next video, we will look at child’s activities, guardianship, and medical emergencies.