Taking the collaborative path to divorce has many perks — from keeping discussions outside of a court setting to being able to create custom post-divorce plans. But sometimes having more freedom and input can also create more opportunity for tension to arise between you and your soon-to-be ex. The last thing you want to do have is stress having drama surrounding the custody plan. Rather, the goal and purpose should be creating a plan that keeps the safety and security of your children at the forefront. To strengthen the process, it could be useful to do more research about joint custody plans that other divorced couples have adapted. Then, to make sure the process remains truly collaborative, you should be sure to give your ex’s side proper consideration and come to each meeting with both large and small picture details in mind.
Do your research
There are a lot of ways a family law attorney can help you prepare for coordinating with your ex on a collaborative custody plan. But, as a sort of homework assignment, it can be worth seeing how other families have developed or acclimated to their parenting plans. You can ask those in your immediate circle, or if you don’t feel comfortable doing so, you can seek out virtual or in-person divorce support groups. You may want to center your questions around which aspects work well in their plan, the parts they wish they could change and how they approached scheduling logistics.
Hear your ex out
When you opt for a collaborative divorce, there’s a mutual understanding that you and your ex will attend meetings with your respective attorney. This may sound easy on paper, because you will be sitting side-by-side with someone who is defending you. However, it might be difficult once you enter the room. Because maybe you will realize you have differing opinions or that your emotions are clouding your ability to see your ex’s perspective. If this is the case, then keep in mind that after your ex expresses an idea about the division of parenting time, you will also get a chance to present your opinion. If nothing else, try to be patient and attentive for the sake of your children.
Consider all the details
There are a lot of components to a parenting plan, like physical and legal custody logistics and child-related expenses. It will be a good idea to think of a full scope of details before carrying out the collaborative divorce process.
Consider the following:
- How you will split parenting time
- Whether both parents will be able to make decisions for their children
- Coming up with process for dividing child-related expenses
- Devising protocol for schedule change requests
- How weekly and annual events or trips may affect the custody schedule
Approaching the whole process with organization and an open mind will go a long way.