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Resolving Post Divorce Issues Through Mediation - Part 1

Post divorce parent coordination involves a couple who is already divorced but has issues they need to mediate regarding the children. In this article we'll talk about the first of the two different types of post divorce parent coordination which involves physical custody and some of the questions you will need to address. In the parenting plans, we typically break physical custody up into three unique sections:

  • The Regular Weekly Schedule - on a normal week during the school year how will the pattern of time between each of you be defined.
  • Exception Holidays - these are days that the children are off from school but we as parents are not. Here in New Jersey good examples can include teacher conferences and summer vacation.
  • Religious and National Holidays - days such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and July 4th.

Especially for parents who get divorced when the children are young, post divorce parent coordination can be quite challenging as a three year old has a much different schedule than a 13 year old and post divorce parenting plan issues are likely to arise, especially if a parenting plan has been in place for a long time. In our example, the parenting plan has been in place for 10 years giving one parent the impression this is how it is so why do we need to go to mediation to discuss it? Kids grow up and their needs change so as parents it's our job to make sure they get the support they need and sometimes the best way is by letting go.

If you are faced with this situation, here are some things to consider when preparing for mediation:

  • How will the change in schedule affect your child's school enrollment?

    Unless you live in the same town, chances are they may wind up in a different school district and if do can you drive them to school every day?
  • What will the impact be to your New Jersey child support calculations?

    The number of overnights and who the parent of primary residence is are factors so you will need to recalculate this.
  • How will holidays and weekends now be scheduled?
  • Who will be responsible for childcare on the days in which the children are off from school but you are not off from work?
  • How can you ensure the both of you as parents spend as much time with your children as possible?

By putting the needs and wants of your child first, you can be sure that with a little help you can modify the parenting plan to be acceptable to everyone involved. It is not uncommon for a child to come to a parent they've been living with for the better part of their life and ask if they could spend more time with the other parent or perhaps even live with them. Please know it's not a reflection on you but rather a function of their owns wants and needs and I promise you that being a great parent has less to do with where they sleep and more to do with them knowing how much you care about them. Especially to a teenager, letting them go is the ultimate sign of care and respect.

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