Improving co-parenting and revisiting parenting arrangements
Changing circumstances may explain why co-parenting is floundering or why existing parenting arrangements are no longer suited to a child's needs. Choice of school, extracurricular activities, parenting schedules or visits with extended family are just some of the issues that might need fine-tuning or more significant changes. This may be particularly true if parenting arrangements were originally established when a child was young and the future less clear.
Parents may struggle along with ineffective co-parenting or unsatisfactory parenting arrangements for a variety of reasons:
- You may not want to "rock-the-boat" when communication with your ex-partner has, finally, reached a comfortable place;
- You and your ex-partner have poor communication and you do not want to worsen a situation already plagued by unsatisfactory interactions; or
- You have tried to change existing parenting schedules or other aspects of co-parenting without success; or
- You do not want to "get legal" as your prior experience with the family law system has left you emotionally and financially drained.
If any of these situations resonate with you, then mediation can be a positive way to bring about change. Just as powerfully, mediation can improve communication with your ex-partner helping your children thrive.
The mediation process
There are two stages to the mediation process. The first stage is for you and your ex-partner to separately attend a private session. Each private session usually lasts for between one and two hours. During the private session:
- The parenting issue, or issues, that are causing difficulties are discussed;
- Liz will determine if mediation is suitable. Mediation is not for everyone, particularly, if you are not able to negotiate freely due to issues of family violence;
- Liz will explain the mediation process and discuss ways to prepare for the joint session; and
- Liz can provide useful resources or appropriate referrals.
The second stage is the joint session. This is when you get the chance to express your point of view and discuss issues of concern. We explore options and work to find solutions acceptable to both parents. The agreements can then be documented. If you want to learn more about the types of agreements available and other details about mediation, please refer to the link.