A May 19 article in The New York Times addresses this very issue. The author suggested that all parenting plans should be subjected to a mandatory binding review every two years. The review would allow the children to speak privately with a mediation-trained lawyer, giving them an opportunity to speak up for any needed changes. After meeting with each kid, the lawyer would then meet with all family members, individually and as a group, to ensure that the child’s wishes are respected in the next two-year cycle of parenting plan.
Is all this extra process necessary? Maybe not. If you choose to mediate rather than litigate your divorce, you have more control over how you want to structure your parenting plan now and in the future. You can decide at the onset of your divorce process that your parenting plan needs to be reviewed every 6, 12, 24 months. You choose. If at that review time you have difficulty agreeing to any changes, you come back to mediation to work out the next phase of your parenting plan. Statistics have shown there is better follow through with agreements made in mediation then decisions forced upon you by the courts. Mediation keeps you in control of the process, while taking into consideration that you and your children’s needs change over time.
In mediation, we view your parenting plan as a work in progress, making it easier to make any adjustments along the way when you, or your kids, feel it is time for a change.
- Michelle Weinberg