Parenting Plans – The Kids Come First

Parenting Plans - Kids Come First - When Mediating a Divorce

Mark Twain once noted that it is on one’s lifetime experiences,

“that we get our education of life. We string them into jewels or into tinware as we may choose.”

For those of us in the slow lane, we frequently benefit from the observations of Twain and others in acquiring wisdom.

A recent article by New York Times health columnist Jane Brody highlights just such a source of wisdom. Her January 10, 2012 item focused on a study of the experiences of 1000 older Americans whose opinions and advice have been combed into a new book entitled 30 Lessons for Living now available from Hudson Press. It covers a lot of territory but several things stood out, one of which was the issue of parenting.

“Most important the elders said, is to spend more time with your children, even if you have to sacrifice to do so. Share in their activities, and do more things with them. Time spent together enables parents to detect budding problems and instill important values.”

These observations may not come as a complete revelation to readers of this blog but the desirability of spending more time with the kids while facing the prospect of divorce presents a challenge (among many others). How do we engineer a way to spend more time with the kids and ensure the continuity of parental contact when a household is essentially being divided in half?

An important feature of Divorce Mediation is that parents have great freedom to create a parenting plan that allows for creativity in maximizing time with the kids on the part of both parents. Through their experience in these matters, divorce mediators have devised some fairly standard approaches to parenting programs and these frequently serve as convenient models around which parents are able to efficiently customize arrangements reflecting their work-life demands and the educational and recreational activities of their children.

Aside from scheduling parental contact and responsibility on a day-to-day basis, holidays, both religious and secular present special considerations such as who will have the kids for Thanksgiving, or when they are not at summer camp? How are weekends to be addressed in a way that accommodates the demands of child-rearing while affording divorcing parents some of the freedom they will need to carrying on with their new lives.

In a mediated divorce the parents agree to a schedule and, if they are of like mind, can customize the arrangements so that special and unanticipated circumstances may be accommodated.

Put more broadly, a parenting schedule that is fundamentally the product of two caring parents, reflecting their concerns and lives, will frequently serve as the foundation for civil, if not pleasurable dealings between the ex-spouses while interacting over parenting issues until their children have assumed independent lives.

Sanford (Sandy) Balick, Attorney & Mediator, NY Sandy Balick signature
Sanford E. Balick, Esq.
Founder & Principal Mediator
Consensus Point Mediation, LLC.

Phone: (646) 340-3434


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One Response to Parenting Plans – The Kids Come First

  • Jean Knudsen says:

    Your website and newsletter are excellent. Good luck in your new business and I will recommend you if the opportunity arises among my friends. kind regards

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