How To Prepare To Negotiate A Parenting Plan

Family Law Attorneys Assisting Washington Families with Child Custody Arrangements

A parenting plan allows you and your child’s other parent to set “ground rules” for sharing custody of your child. Items like schedules, who will make certain decisions about the child’s education or medical needs, and holiday or vacation plans can be worked out in a parenting plan.

The benefit of a parenting plan is that it creates stability and predictability in your life and your child’s. Negotiating the plan, however, may seem daunting, particularly if your relationship with your child’s other parent is strained. Here’s how to prepare for negotiations so that the creation of your parenting plan goes more smoothly.

Gather Information

Bringing certain documents and other information to a parenting plan negotiation can help you and your child’s other parent work more efficiently by having access to certain details when you need them. Types of information that can help you build a parenting plan include:

  • Copies of your child’s various schedules, including their school schedule and schedules for extracurricular activities, medical needs, and similar tasks
  • Copies of any information about your child’s particular needs, such as reports from therapists or doctors, allergy or medication lists, their Individualized Education Plan (IEP), and similar information
  • Contact information for babysitters and emergency contacts for your child
  • Information on car seat requirements–especially if you and the child’s other parent live in different states or localities with differing child seat laws
  • Your own planner or datebook

Also, learn more about child development and the custody laws in your state. This information can help you create a consistent parenting plan that contains all the essential details.

Prepare Yourself Mentally and Emotionally

Before you enter the negotiation, make the following resolutions to yourself:

  • I will ask myself, “Is this the best thing for my child?” before accepting or rejecting any suggestion.
  • I will listen carefully to what my child’s other parent says before I speak.
  • I will ask for a break when I need one so that I can focus on the goal of raising our child effectively.

Remind yourself regularly to stay focused on what is in your child’s best interests. By remembering that you are here to support your child, you can help yourself stay calm and focus on creating the best parenting plan for your child.

Ask Yourself Five Questions

During the negotiations, keep these five questions in mind:

  • Am I working toward putting our child’s needs before our needs?
  • Am I making a good-faith effort to communicate constructively?
  • Am I respecting the other parent’s parenting abilities and the time they spend with our child?
  • Am I listening carefully to what my child’s other parent says before I respond to it?
  • When a suggestion will not work for me, am I attempting to offer workable compromises?

Asking yourself these questions and answering them honestly when negotiations become tense can help you identify ways to defuse the tension and keep the process moving forward. They can also help you focus your attention where it belongs: on your child’s needs and health.

Contact an Experienced Washington Divorce Lawyer for More Help

With an attorney on your side, you prepare yourself to move more smoothly and efficiently through the divorce or child custody process, maximizing your chances of creating a settlement that supports the future you’d like to build. To learn more, contact the team at Bolan Law Group. today. Our phone number is (253) 470-2356. You can also use our short online contact form to reach our office.

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