Preparing Custody Schedules for Mediation
You can create your own custody and visitation schedule (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own schedule, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates custody schedules and parenting plans. You make each part of your schedule, and then you can print your calendar and plan.
Preparing a custody schedule for a mediation session is important because it lets you use your opinions and experience as a parent to work out an agreement with the other parent. Because the custody schedule will affect your children significantly, it's important that you be part of that process.
Mediation is when a trained mediator helps two sides come together and make an agreement. Mediation in custody situations help two parents agree on a parenting plan and custody schedule.
Preparing a custody schedule can be intimidating, but with helpful software such as Custody X Change, you can print out a clear, presentable calendar to take to mediation.
Generally, a family court judge prefers it when parents create a custody schedule that is customized to their family's needs. Parents are the best sources for what is best for their children.
When you take the time to prepare a custody schedule, it shows you are interested in working with the other parent to create a stable environment for your children.
The primary benefit of preparing a custody schedule for mediation includes having some input and opinions of the calendar that will be a part of your children's lives for a long time. If parents don't create a workable custody schedule, the family court will do it.
While the family court will try hard to create a custody schedule that represents your children's best interests, there is no replacement for parental involvement. You know your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as your children's temperament and maturity.
Your input into a custody schedule is critical to success.
Another benefit of preparing a custody schedule for mediation is that it allows you time to put your thoughts on visitation down on paper. Divorce proceedings are full of emotion and it may be difficult to express yourself clearly in words.
Having a custody schedule in hand can help you communicate better and keep the discussions calm and logical.
Try Custody X Change software when you want to prepare a custody schedule for mediation. The calendar you create provides a blueprint for discussions and may help you and the other parent reach an agreement more quickly.
The key to preparing a custody schedule is to be familiar with what are age appropriate visitation times for each of your children. Because a judge will ultimately make a ruling based on what is best for the children, you want your custody schedule to reflect careful consideration about their needs.
Here is a general guideline on child development stages concerning visitation:
- Infants--Short, frequent visits with the non-custodial parent lasting a few hours.
- 1 to 3 year olds--One day per week, with an overnight stay based on the child's maturity and comfort level with the non-custodial parent
- 3 to 5 year olds--One day, plus one overnight stay
- Elementary school age--Alternating weekends with a weekday or two
- Teens--Alternating weekends with flexibility to accommodate busy schedules
You will also need to work out holidays and vacation times between you and the other parent, as well as any special days like birthdays. Don't forget to provide details on pick-up and drop-off times and how and where you will do transfers.
Use Custody X Change software to create color-coded schedules that are easy to read and can be printed out or uploaded to your mobile devices.
Preparing a custody schedule for mediation is a challenge, but the more organized you are, the easier the process will be. Using custody software such as Custody X Change can also reduce your stress levels compared to starting from scratch.
Begin the process by gathering as much information as you can about your children's school schedule, school holidays, official holidays and your own work schedule. Find out the other parent's work schedule and document times for any extracurricular activities your children are involved in.
Enter the information onto a calendar, either paper or electronically via custody software. Once the basic information is entered, you can customize it to best fit your family's needs.
When you attend the mediation, bring a hard copy of the custody schedule you've created. Custody X Change software allows you the option to print out a clear, color-coded calendar that can eliminate confusion on both sides of the mediation table.
It isn't uncommon for each of you to prepare your own ideal custody schedule and bring them to mediation, so don't worry if you find this out. If you and the other parent were able to agree on custody schedules, you wouldn't be attending mediation.
Having two versions of custody schedules in mediation may actually work to your advantage. It's a quick way for the mediator to see the areas where you and the other parent are in agreement as well as what areas need facilitating.
In order to ensure your custody schedule carries weight, be prepared to defend your points using statements from teachers, doctors and other witnesses. For example, if the other parent wants to schedule overnight visits with your infant, you can provide reports that show most child development experts think that's not age appropriate.
Just because the other parent is preparing a custody schedule for mediation doesn't mean that schedule will be adopted as is. Equally, it won't mean your custody schedule will be approved either. Instead, think of the two custody schedules as a great starting point to communicate about the health and welfare of your children.
You want to bring the best custody schedule you can make to mediation in order to enhance communication with the other parent as well as the mediator. Take the time to learn what doesn't work well in a custody schedule.
Some things to avoid when preparing a custody schedule for mediation include:
- Avoid skimping on your children's time with the other parent
- Avoid keeping all the holidays to yourself, or only allowing visits on minor holidays
- Avoid too many transitions between houses within the week
- Avoid inappropriate transition times, such as 5:00 a.m.
- Avoid scheduling inappropriate visitations for your children's age and maturity
- Avoid setting a schedule that is too rigid and doesn't allow for flexibility
At the mediation, keep your emotions under control and don't get sidetracked into negative verbal attacks on the other parent. Remind yourself and the other parent that your children's lives are the priority.
Above all, work hard to reach an agreement on a custody schedule that will allow both of you plenty of time to raise your children to become successful, healthy and happy..