Saturday, October 28, 2006

We're in Marriage Counseling and Can't Agree on a Parenting Schedule - Can Mediation Help?

Answer: Yes.

The individual who asked this question is not in the middle of a divorce. Both parents are in therapy to decide whether their marriage can or should be saved and one parent is staying at a friend's house to give them some space to think.

In the meantime, what about the kids? How do the parents decide when and how each parent should spend time with the kids in the middle of this transition period? Mediation can help.

In mediation, the neutral and unbiased mediator works with the parties to discuss the current situation, to discuss ideal situations for both parents and for the children, and to formulate a parenting plan that will work for this family with the least amount of bumps in the road.

Having represented numerous fathers and mothers, husbands and wives and other domestic partners, in custody and visitation disputes in court, I am able to discuss with parents the relevant laws and issues that can come up as well as the specific processes involved in each Bay Area county's Family Law courts.

Knowing the issues and laws regarding holiday visitation, grandparent visitation, school days and school vacations, daycare and babysitting, medical decisions and other key issues that can arise, helps me to ask the right questions and engage the parents in the right discussions. This allows the parties to have a better understanding of problems which may arise in this new context and to formulate their own parenting plan that works for everyone based on what is important to each parent and the children at this time. And all of this is done without filing a court case, but with the court there as backup enforcement of the resulting contract if needed.

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