Working out a parenting plan can be difficult. You and your ex may not agree, and you might think that you have to go to court to ask a judge to make a ruling because of the difficulties you’re running into. Spending time in court is the last thing you want to have to do. It’s expensive and time-consuming, and there are many other options available. Try one of these three methods to come to a parenting plan agreement before you turn to a court for assistance.
Informal agreements can be amicable
You and your ex likely have your own attorneys, so working out an informal agreement is still possible. To start with, you both should write down the things you want to see in your parenting plan. When items match up, they can be included in the plan. For things that don’t line up, you can write down what you’d like to see happen and if there’s any negotiation to which you would be amenable. Keep exchanging this information as long as you can do so amicably. Present as much of the agreed-upon parenting plan as possible to your attorneys. At this point, your attorneys can negotiate for you, or you can choose to have your attorneys turn the agreement into a formal document.
Mediation helps you take matters into your own hands
If you can’t work together without fighting but think you can work together long enough to come up with an amicable solution to your child’s needs, it may be a good choice to have a third party present. With mediation, you and the other parent work together with the help of an attorney or mediator who helps you both come up with positive solutions to parenting concerns. The mediator won’t give you a solution, but he or she can help you come up with one that you both agree upon by helping you see the benefits or pitfalls of each suggestion.
Arbitration is a structured, viable option
Another alternative to heading to trial over parenting concerns is going through the arbitration process. With arbitration, you and the other party both bring up your concerns and your suggestions. You work with your attorney to provide evidence and to present your arguments to the arbitrator or judge working on your case. This is a more structured solution than mediation, because the decision could be binding if both parties agree to go through binding arbitration motions together. If you don’t want to go through binding arbitration, nonbinding arbitration still provides you with the ruling of the judge or arbitrator, but it’s not legally binding.
These are a few ways you can work through your parenting plan issues without having to go to court; try them, and you may be pleased with the outcome.