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1 size does not fit all: A parenting plan for your family

When many couples divorce, they allow the court to determine virtually everything from property division to child custody to parenting plans. However, the judge is not the parents of the children involved. As parents, you are in a better place to determine the needs of your children and to create a parenting plan that really fits the needs of your family.

While the judges do their very best to make sure the best interests of the child are first and foremost, they can't truly understand your child's needs as fully and deeply as you do. A parenting plan should be developed that meets the needs of your family -- and that's not an easy task. Even the most amicable couples may have difficulties working together during a divorce.

Collaborative and mediated divorces use outside professionals to create a process where each party is allowed to be control; however, they are in control together so that the needs of their family are met.

Child specialists are mental health professionals that work with children and families who are in the midst of a divorce. Your child's voice -- when old enough -- can be heard without him or her being right in the middle of the divorce. In addition, a child specialist can help you communicate with your child about the divorce and help you understand how conflict can create real damage to your children.

A child specialist will work with both parents to create a parenting plan that takes into consideration your child's personality, developmental level and age and the parents' dynamics, such as work hours, travel and flexibility. While these professionals are most often used in collaborative or mediated divorces, they can also be brought in as consultants to help parents make good decisions.

When you're in need of a parenting plan that will truly meet your family's needs, consider a collaborative, mediated or negotiated divorce. Your divorce attorney can provide more information on how each process works.

Source: Huffington Post, "Creating a Parenting Plan That Fits Your Family," Deanna Conklin-Danao, Nov. 19, 2015

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