Option of mediation for parents to resolve visitation disputes

When parents divorce with children in the picture it is not easy. Emotions run high, one or both parents may feel slighted with parenting schedules and visitation plans which limit access and contact with their children. They may find the schedules inequitable and unfair and these feeling may culminate into a visitation dispute.

It is no surprise that the end of a divorce with children may only be the beginning of visitation disputes. Despite parents feeling that they simply cannot agree, they have options. In 2009, the Florida legislature established a mediation process to help reduce the conflict associated with custody and visitation issues. Attorneys for the parents can suggest, or judges can order, use of parent coordinators who directly work with the parents to draft and follow through with a written plan on raising their children after dissolution.

When divorcing parents are focused on finalizing property and asset matters during a divorce, a parent coordinator can help ease the stress of child custody and visitation issues. They work with parents to help them share responsibility while keeping the best interest of the child in mind by assisting with the detailed drafting of items such as educational needs, medical needs, where, how often, how much time the child will spend with the parents, summer schedules, extracurricular activities and the like.

It is important for parents to remember that in the event the parenting plan drafted is not followed they have the option of going back to court to get the issues resolved. In certain cases, such as where domestic violence is involved, mediation or the use of parent coordinators may not be apt and it is best for the child to be with one parent only.

Divorcing parents have the option to work together on visitation issues and to come up with a mutually agreeable solution to their disagreements.

Source: Sun Sentinel, "Mediation for divorced parents who just can't agree" Marci Shatzman, Aug. 15, 2012

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