Sheila Vierra, Attorney at Law, LLLC
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Creating a parenting plan without conflict

Not fighting is a primary goal of most people going through divorce. The reality is that not all divorces are contentious, and for many, it's easy enough to come to an agreement.

If you and your soon-to-be ex are still able to be civil with one another, you may want to look into creating a parenting plan together before you go to court. If you do this, it helps you and your spouse come up with a plan that works for both your schedules. If there is a disagreement, though, you could want other options.

Alternative options to developing a parenting plan together

It's a good idea to try to create a parenting plan together on your own first, but if that doesn't work, you have three options other than battling it out in court. The first is to negotiate through your attorneys. You can tell your attorney what you'd like, and your spouse can tell his or her attorney what agreement would be best. Together, they can negotiate and help you devise a workable plan.

That's one of the more expensive ways to do things. Another option is to turn to a mediator. A mediator educates you both on what could work well based on your situations. If you have a dispute, the mediator is there to help you work through it and to teach you how to deal with disputes that may come up in the future. Mediation is typically not legally binding, making it a good way to work through disputes if you still want options afterward.

Finally, a third option is to try arbitration. In arbitration, a third-party arbitrator listens to both sides and their arguments for a particular schedule. Then, the arbitrator makes a decision that is legally binding. Here's an example.

One parent may suggest having the children every other week, while the other parent would like them for two weeks at a time. The schedule doesn't work well with the first parent's work responsibilities. The second parent has no real reason to reject an every-other-week schedule other than wanting more time with his or her children at once. Knowing that parent one needs to work and deserves time with the children, the arbitrator may determine that the bi-weekly schedule is the most fair to everyone and gives the child the best chance to see both parents.

Creating a parenting plan doesn't have to be difficult. With multiple options for working through conflict, it's possible to get to a point where you're in accord without any continual risk of disagreements.

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