Changes Down the Road
Friday, May 25, 2012 • 10:01am
Change is inevitable – in life and in parenting plans. An initial parenting plan reflects the time of your life when you created the agreement, and a parenting plan that worked for your newly-divorced family when your children are toddlers will continue to work ten years later when they are teenagers. Yet, many people do not develop a process when first writing the plan to review and adjust the plan as the children age.
A May 19 article in The New York Times addresses this very issue. The author suggested that all parenting plans should be subjected to a mandatory binding review every two years. The review would allow the children to speak privately with a mediation-trained lawyer, giving them an opportunity to speak up for any needed changes. After meeting with each kid, the lawyer would then meet with all family members, individually and as a group, to ensure that the child’s wishes are respected in the next two-year cycle of parenting plan.
Is all this extra process necessary? Maybe not. If you choose to mediate rather than litigate your divorce, you have more control over how you want to structure your parenting plan now and in the future. You can decide at the onset of your divorce process that your parenting plan needs to be reviewed every 6, 12, 24 months. You choose. If at that review time you have difficulty agreeing to any changes, you come back to mediation to work out the next phase of your parenting plan. Statistics have shown there is better follow through with agreements made in mediation then decisions forced upon you by the courts. Mediation keeps you in control of the process, while taking into consideration that you and your children’s needs change over time.
In mediation, we view your parenting plan as a work in progress, making it easier to make any adjustments along the way when you, or your kids, feel it is time for a change.
For more information about divorce mediation contact Randi M. Albert, JD, or Michelle Weinberg, LMFT, at Westfield Mediation, LLC at 908.913.0373. View our website at www.westfieldnjmediation.com or email us at email@example.com.
Westfield Mediation, LLC, is located in the Westfield, NJ area. The principals include Randi M. Albert, JD, and Michelle Weinberg, LMFT, both members of the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators.
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