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Developing a Successful Parenting Plan
One of the most important topics covered in mediation is a developing a parenting plan, an agreement which outlines what the co-parenting arrangements will be moving forward. The ultimate goal is to establish a plan and a schedule that is fair, and will benefit the children by allowing them to receive maximum support and love from both parents so that the transition goes as smoothly as possible for everyone involved.
What is a Parenting Plan?
A parenting plan is an agreement between both parents that serves as the blueprint for how the children will be co-parented once everything is settled. Unlike court ordered custody plans that are established in litigated divorces, parenting plans are much more flexible and can be customized to suit the individual needs of each family. Parenting plans are also typically much more effective than traditional arrangements because they are built on a foundation that places the children’s best interests first.
What Does the Parenting Plan Cover?
While parenting plans are unique to each family, they all contain certain basic elements that provide for the children’s care and well-being, both physically and emotionally. These elements include:
Parenting plans also cover details about such things as access to medical and school records, each parent’s role and rights in the decision making process, and child care arrangements. Some even contain detailed agreements on child raising methods, including things like discipline, chores and allowances. Most importantly, each parenting plan is tailor-made to include everything that matters to your family.
What are the Benefits of a Clearly Defined Parenting Plan?
The beauty of a parenting plan is that it can be as detailed and complex as you and your spouse want it to be. The more information it covers, the more effectively you will both be able to co-parent with one another. Custody arrangements established by the court are often very restrictive and many times leave one parent, and even the children, feeling slighted, frustrated or angry. Because parenting plans are customized for each family, they allow for a much more positive arrangement that everyone can feel comfortable with. Among other things, parenting plans are beneficial because they:
Separation and divorce can be an incredibly difficult and emotional time, especially when there are children involved. Children often feel lost in the shuffle, with both parents focusing only on each other and engaging in unhealthy, negative interactions that only serve to cause more problems. Developing an effective parenting plan with the help of an experienced mediator can help to establish healthy boundaries, foster open communication, promote positive co-parenting and make the transition to separate households as smooth and stress-free as possible.
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New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the division of property in a divorce is to be done fairly, not necessarily equally. The court can take into consideration any factor it deems relevant when dividing property, but it must consider certain factors, such as how long the couple was married and the age and health of both spouses, the income or property brought to the marriage by each spouse, the standard of living that was achieved during the marriage, and the extent to which one spouse may have deferred career goals, among others.
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