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Developing a parenting plan means asking some tough questions

Many divorcing parents choose mediation because they want to have a "friendly divorce." However, feelings and relationships between divorcing couples can still be complicated.

That's why one family mediator recommends that when couples are working out their parenting plan, they be honest with themselves and each other about what that relationship is. This will help them determine how much and what type of contact they should have as divorced parenting partners.

Parents' ability to keep the tone of their communication positive and friendly should play a role in their decision about how much time they can spend together. This involves the couples asking and answering for themselves some questions about their current feelings towards each other, how much they will need to communicate and how to be in the same space as parents, both currently and as their children get older.

Another key question that parents need to ask themselves is how much they're willing to let their negative feelings detract from their children's ability to enjoy activities where the parents are together. Finally, they need to be honest about what and how much they need to change their behavior and work through their feelings in order to support their children's emotional, physical, social and intellectual well-being as they grow up.

Four types of parenting partnerships are identified. Likely, you'll be able to recognize your and your co-parent's relationship in one of them:

-- Enmeshed enemies-- Reluctant rivals-- Accommodating allies-- Facilitating friends

Of course, wherever you are now, that will likely change and preferably for the better with effort and time. If you believe that you and your parenting partner need some help in getting to where you need to be as parents, your attorney or mediator can likely recommend some counseling resources in your area.

Source: Huffington Post, "Marriages Dissolve, But Parenting Partnerships Are ‘to Death Do Us Part’ — What Type of Parenting Partners Are You?," Dr. Jamie Williamson, June 01, 2016

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