CUSTODY ARRANGEMENTS: BEING ACCOMMODATING WHEN CHOOSING YOUR PARENTING PLAN DOESN’T PREJUDICE YOUR RIGHTS IN LITIGATION
A mediation colleague recently blogged about the advantages of mediation over litigated divorce in working out the right parenting plan for your child or children. One advantage of mediation (which advantage is also present in collaborative divorce cases) is that couples can test tentative parenting plans – meaning, they can try out one arrangement, see how it works, and tweak it to best meet the needs of their children. Because, in mediation, the couple controls the process, they can space out their meetings to allow for this testing, and then adjust the agreement accordingly. The author also points out that, should spouses end up in litigation rather than at the mediation table, they don’t prejudice their rights in litigation by having been accommodating and working together amicably on their parenting plan. http://www.susan-ingram.com/2016/01/finding-the-parenting-plan-that-is-the-right-fit/
This might surprise people who haven’t been in the court: Judges respect parents who are willing to support the relationship between the other parent and the child. There are many court decisions in which the accommodating parent has an advantage over the more difficult parent. The Court’s perspective is fairly child-focussed; the Judges often state that the children are entitled to the love and affection of both parents, and take into consideration any acts in which either parent is interfering with the child’s connection with the other parent. In fact, most custody cases are won because of the positive attributes of one parent over the other, not the negative things people say about the other. If you are concerned about custody and visitation issues, please raise all your concerns with your lawyer — we have a lot of experience dealing with these kinds of cases, and can help you understand the best approach to protecting your children’s interests.