Parenting Time Mediation Service
You may be living separate and apart from the other parent of your children, but you do not want that separation to impact your relationship with your children.
Divorcing parents might find it challenging to figure out how their parenting time will work. There are hundreds of horror stories of long legal battles through family court where parents and their lawyers fight over the custody of their children. Fighting over custody can be exhausting, cost an exorbitant amount of money, and can be particularly scarring for young children. Fortunately, family mediation can prevent such divorce proceedings.
Benefits of Mediation for Parents and Children
Mediation reduces the level of conflict between the parents which can have a positive impact on their children. The children of parents who got divorced via mediation usually have better outcomes in their lives and in their relationships with their parents.
More and more couples are turning to mediators and family mediation services in Massachusetts. Instead of the traditional painful process of a litigated divorce where a judge could very well decide when you see your children, a mediator can guide parents to solutions that work for the whole family. A hallmark of traditional litigation is the concept of a “winner” and a “loser” with regards to parenting time. But in family mediation, compromised solutions are utilized instead. There are many benefits to mediation for parents including:
- Cost-Savings: Traditional litigation is very expensive. In a litigated divorce, both parties often need to hire their own lawyer and the legal fees can become overwhelming quickly. Comparatively, mediation is much more affordable. The savings parents get from mediation are vital to help with the transition out of married life and can be used for moving costs and other expenses.
- Time: One of the key reasons couples choose mediation over traditional litigation, is that they have some level of control over the timing. Rather than following the Court’s calendar, the parties can mediate on days and times that are convenient to their work schedule. Mediation can often result in a finalized divorce more quickly than a litigated divorce. A mediator can handle the filing of the divorce which can save the couple even more time.
- Privacy: A litigated divorce usually has hearings which are public. Mediation is private and other family members, co-workers and friends will not be made aware of the inner details of your divorce.
- Better for Children: Solving custody disputes in court can be traumatic for children. Children may need to be taken out of school to be interviewed by an investigator. With mediation, the parents determine the parenting arrangements and if necessary, we can engage the services of a social worker to help the parents and children. Most couples who mediate are better able to communicate with each other which results in good role modeling for the children. Because litigated custody battles quickly become high conflict cases, the children inevitably become aware of the conflict which increases their stress.
- Smoother Transitions: Transitioning from mediation to new lives is much smoother than transitioning out of a combative legal battle. Litigation is more aggressive compared to mediation and can damage a family. Mediation allows a family to continue to respect one another and move forward. Mediation is ideal for couples who want to cooperatively parent.
Parenting Time Options
Part of mediation for couples with children is deciding on parenting time schedules. Because a parenting plan reflects the parents and children’s schedules, they can frequently be varied and unique. There are a variety of options that a mediator will share with the couple. The goal is always to find an option that both parents are satisfied with and that is best for the children. Examples of different schedules are:
- 50/50: Usually, the parents look at a two-week period and divide the time with their children equally. For example, one week with the mother and the next week with the father. Another common shared schedule is that each parent will get 2 overnights during the week and alternating weekend.
- 60/40: Although not as common, a 60/40 schedule involves having the children spend three days with one parent for every four days with the other. This system would mean children would spend long weekends with one parent and the other weekdays with the other for instance.
- 70/30: The 70-30 split parenting time schedules include 5 days for every 2 days. Generally, both parents want an entire weekend so the parents will alternate weekends and the parent who is not the primary residential parent would have one overnight a week. Some parents use the split where one parent has the children on weekends and the other parent has the children on weekdays. These systems can work for parents who live farther away, or in cases where one parent can only have weekend parenting time.
- Long Distance: In cases where parents live farther apart, long distance plans can be used. These plans usually involve one parent as the primary caretaker, and the other parent having parenting time for long sections of time periodically throughout the year with special emphasis on the summer.
When choosing a schedule for parenting time, mediators will always stress what is best for the children. If couples continue to live in the same area, it is easier to have a more flexible parenting time schedule.
Contact Deirdre Healy To Set Up A Mediation Appointment
Deirdre Healy has helped many couples in the Worcester area navigate the challenges of setting up parenting time. She has the experience and resources necessary to assist the parties in making parenting arrangements that will benefit all involved. Contact Deirdre Healy today to discuss setting up a mediation appointment.