Divorce & Custody Mediation: 4 Scheduling Factors To Consider For Your Children
As a family goes through a divorce, one of the hardest things to deal with is typically family custody. Custody and visitation issues have so many complications, including days of the week, school schedules, and holidays. As you go through custody negotiations with a family law attorney, there are four different factors to consider as it applies to your child's schedule. Figuring out these factors during mediation will help eliminate any problems or issues that may occur in the future. A mediation session typically takes place out of a court room but still involves an attorney to help get an agreement in writing. A law attorney can put the following four events into writing and help set up the most amicable agreement possible.
When a child is involved with sports, there is a lot of transportation needed for practices and games. By preparing for the sports season, you can make arrangements with your former spouse on setting up different agreements. For example, on nights of a practice, the parent that transports the child to the practice may keep the child overnight as one of their custody days. The same types of agreements may be made for game days and attending games. If it is too hard to attend a game with your former spouse, then you may set up an agreement to evenly split game schedules. Additional details with the sports games may involve an even split between home and away games. This can ensure that parents have equal travel time and a fair split of the various distances.
There are often a number of school events to consider in a custody agreement. When possible, it's important for both parents to attend as many events at the same time. In the beginning, this may be harder to do, and this is why an agreement should be set in place for various activities. For example, you and your former spouse may agree to alternate turns volunteering to be chaperones for field trips. School events like plays, basket raffles, and open houses may be alternated between parents.
Parent/teacher conferences may be alternated by semester or a special request could be put in to have separate meetings if necessary. When attending mediation with your lawyer, it's a good idea to bring a school calendar so all of these events can be broken down and assigned. This will help avoid arguments in the future.
When parents are sharing custody, the time with their children is often limited during the week. One major factor that could take away nights with a parent is when a child has a sleepover. Instead of keeping the child away from social activities, you can set up plans for your child's sleepover. For example, if you have the child for two nights a week and a sleepover occurs, then the next week you may get an extra night to make up for it. You can also arrange to alternate which nights the child is allowed to go to sleepovers. For example, one month it may be only on your nights while the next month it applies to other parent. Setting up a fair agreement can help prevent parents from losing out on a lot of time with their child.
Emergency medical appointments will obviously go to whatever parent has the child, but you may need to set up scheduling for routine appointments throughout the year. By scheduling these agreements, parents can prevent missing work or adjusting schedules too much around the custody agreement. During a single year, a child may have dental appointments, physicals, orthodontist appointments, and eye doctor appointments. When working with an attorney, you can seek out specific types of doctors to assign or do it by a month by month basis. Having these appointment schedules set ahead of time will prevent constant changes or cancellations of appointments.
It may seem like a lot, but being organized and open with communication can really help mediation go smoothly. It's important to work with your attorney and put your child's interests first.
For more information and legal advice, talk with a family law attorney, such as those at Gearing Rackner Engel And McGrath LLP.