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Tips for negotiating a visitation plan with a contentious spouse

Approaching a divorce with as much cooperation as possible can definitely be to one’s advantage. To the extent agreements can be reached between the parties and reduced to writing, a settlement agreement on those issues could simply be presented to the court for approval. 

Yet it may not always be realistic to expect cooperation from one’s soon-to-be former spouse. Although parents may not want to prolong any fighting for the sake of their kids, how can a parenting plan come out of a contentious divorce without substantial court involvement? A recent article provides insight.  

Specifically, the author recommended an approach called parallel parenting. Under the approach, divorced parents might share legal custody of a child but agree to delegate daily decision-making to whichever parent the child is with on that particular day. Joint parental input would be required for more significant decisions, such as educational issues or medical care. 

The parallel parenting model also encourages basic ground rules to be specifically described in the parenting plan. For example, if last-minute scheduling conflicts arise, a plan can provide for how that issue can be approached. Perhaps the number of rescheduled visits can be limited to a certain number within a specified number of weeks or months.

Finally, the approach also advises against using a child to relay messages to the other parent, which may seem like a ploy on the child’s loyalty to one parent or the other. Instead, a plan can provide for most outcomes, and parents should communicate directly with each other if revisions or modifications are required. Of course, permanent modification requests can also be presented to the court, for the purpose of issuing a revised parenting plan.

Source: Huffington Post, “What’s The Best Alternative To Co-Parenting When Ex’s Don’t Get Along?” Terry Gaspard, April 1, 2016

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