Co-Parenting Mediation in Divorce
When going through the often difficult process of getting a divorce in Aiken, the care of any children you have from the marriage is often one of the most sensitive and hotly contested issues. Rather than simply awarding one of the parents sole custody and granting the other more limited visitation, co-parenting plans are increasingly favored, which allow both parents to remain active and engaged in their child’s life.
Co-parenting mediation in divorce can be helpful in this situation and involves making the effort to reach mutual agreements that benefit all of the parties involved, rather than simply leaving it in the hands of a judge to decide.
Find out more about co-parenting and mediations and what you can do about a family law case relating to this by contacting the Surasky Law Firm today. Request Consultation
Co-Parenting: Sharing Custody Of Children After Divorce
For parents, child custody is one of the major issues that must be dealt with when getting a divorce in Aiken. Decisions made during these proceedings will be entered as part of any final divorce order in the case and can impact you for years into the future.
Under Section 63-15-220 of the South Carolina Statutes, each party must prepare, file, and submit a parenting plan to the court. This allocates the amount of time the child spends in each parent’s home, rights regarding visitation, and who has legal authority in making important decisions on the child’s behalf, regarding their medical care, education, and religious upbringing. The judge will then determine appropriate arrangements, based on factors such as the following:
Each parent’s current and prior relationship with the child;
Their ability to nurture the child and provide for their needs;
Their ability to cooperate with the other parent in implementing co-parenting arrangements;
Any problems, such as alcohol and drug abuse or accusations of domestic violence, which could put the child at risk.
Providing it is in the child’s best interests, the parents can opt instead to negotiate a joint parenting plan through mediation. This is often preferable to having a judge decide such an important and personal matter. Co-parenting mediation in divorce allows for customized arrangements that take into consideration the needs of both you and your child and all of the specific circumstances surrounding the case.
Negotiating Agreements Via Co-Parenting Mediation
A South Carolina court-approved parenting plan is at the center of co-parenting mediation. It details the following types of issues, which are likely to come up in making child custody arrangements:
Whether one parent will act as the child’s primary custodian or whether the parties will share joint custody;
A regular/school year schedule, detailing where the child will stay each day of the week;
A summer schedule, which will include additional time spent in each parent’s homes and child care arrangements;
A schedule for holidays and birthdays, in which parent’s generally alternate visits;
Any restricted activities, such as the use of alcohol while the child is in the parent’s care or exposing them to new romantic partners;
Legal custody, which involves authority to make decisions on their behalf;
Other considerations, such the right to attend school functions or other events, pick-up/drop-off arrangements, and provisions for when problems or disputes arise.
In creating a parenting plan, each parent will consult with their own attorney regarding their rights and obligations. In some cases, an agreement may be reached through informal negotiations. If not, co-parenting mediation may be the best option, with a mediator appointed by the court. This is an impartial third party who does not have the authority to issue an order in the case, but rather makes recommendations and encourages the parents to reach mutually beneficial agreements.
What To Expect During Co-Parenting Mediation
When dealing with all of the complicated issues in divorce, it is natural to wonder how mediation could work in resolving sensitive matters concerning your children. The fact is, mediation not only helps in making co-parenting plans, but can also improve communications between you and your former partner, making the implementation of the plan easier. Here is what you can expect:
The mediator will be well-trained in dealing with divorce and child custody issues.
They will be familiar with the general circumstances surrounding your case.
They will allow both of you time to talk and encourage discussion that is respectful.
They will encourage you to reach mutually beneficial goals.
They will make concrete suggestions, but leave the final decision up to you.
They will keep information shared in mediation confidential.
Keep in mind that a mediator does not have any authority in issuing a final order. Should you be unable to reach an agreement in co-parenting mediation, the next step is generally to have a judge issue an order based on the circumstances and evidence presented.
How To Make The Most Of Co-Parenting Mediation
When filing for a divorce through the Aiken County Family Court, co-parenting mediation can help couples reach out of court agreements in even the most hotly contested cases. Ways in which you can make the most out of co-parenting mediation in divorce include:
Go into it with an open mind and realize you will have to negotiate;
Be respectful in communications with the mediator and the other parent;
Avoid trying to ‘punish’ or get revenge against your former spouse;
Realize that even though they might not be the right partner for you, they are still capable of being a good parent;
Discuss any concerns you have with your attorney prior to attending mediation.
Keep in mind the ultimate goal of co-parenting mediation in divorce: to ensure your child’s needs are met and that both their best interests and your rights as a parent are protected.
Discuss Your Options With Our Experienced Aiken Divorce Attorney
The Surasky Law Firm has decades’ worth of experience successfully guiding clients through divorce and child custody issues. We help you get the best possible outcome in even the most complex or contentious cases. To discuss your options and whether co-parenting mediation in divorce might work in your situation, call or contact our Aiken divorce attorney online and request a one-on-one, confidential consultation today.