Comments: Ten Tips for Developing and Drafting Effective Parenting Plans in Mediation

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Ann Marie , -97.000000   01/19/14
While Don's comments are spot on, I generally discourage parents from exchanging their children at a police station. In some areas there are facilities that are designed for exchanges. These facilities closely monitor the exchange and stagger the parents' arrival. If possible, the time sharing arrangement can be modified to allow for the exchange to begin/end after/before school preventing face-to-face parental contact in conflictual situations. Day care can also be used. Thus, the school and day care become a "neutral" exchange site. At times, the time-sharing arrangement may need to be extended a bit beyond the suggested plan for a child's age and developmental factors. Under these circumstances you need to balance which provision will be the "least detrimental" versus the "best interest of the child". For instance, the exposure to conflict versus the recommended time-sharing arrangement. Younger siblings can often tolerate more advanced time-sharing arrangements since they have the support of older siblings.

Linda , Mamaroneck NY   11/07/13
Parenting Plan Tips
Thank you for your well-written and well-organized tips on drafting parenting plans. I especially liked the idea of using the child-centered language, and plan to give it a try the next time I need to draft such an agreement.

John A. , Waltham MA   11/06/13
The child focused language
At our recent APFM conference we watched SPLIT, a movie with children talking about their parents divorce. A girl about 11 said, "I have my Mom on Tuesday." The world is upside down. Don's suggested language, "Fred will be with father on Tuesday" is more child centered than the usual "Father will be with Fred on Tuesday." Thanks for helping us to think about what we do. Back to the drawing board. Again.

bob , Macon ga     11/06/13
Don: You nailed it. Thanks for this and all your contributions. bob