PARENTING PLANS

PARENTING IS FOREVER!

IT’S ABOUT THE CHILD!

 

“ Supportive coparenting relationships include joint investment in the child, valuing the importance of the other parent for the child’s growth and development, respecting the judgments of the other parent, and ongoing communication regarding the child’s needs.”

 

Predictors of Supportive Coparenting After Relationship Dissolution Among At Risk Parents,

Claire M. Kamp Dush, Letitia E. Kotila, & Sarah J. Schoppe-Sullivan.

Co-Parenting Principle

 

  1. A child has always and in any case the right to maintain a stable relationship with both parents, even when they are separated or divorced, unless there is a need to separate the child from one or both parents.

  2. Both parents have a right and duty to care and love for their child.

What is a Co-Parenting Plan?

 

A Co-Parenting Plan is a written plan formed by a mediator and the two parents involved. The goal is to arrive at a practical plan that benefits the well-being and care for the child or children concerned. A parenting workbook called, “ It Takes Two for Your Child: A Workbook on Parenting Together” is issued which educates divorced or never married parents who are involved in cases mainly filed in the juvenile or family courts of the State, to focus on their children.

 

Some of the sections are Identifying dreams for your child, Parental rights & responsibilities (custodial & non-custodial), child safety issues, developing a parenting plan, FAQ’s, and definitions of terms parents may not be aware of concerning the court system.

Parents are encouraged to complete an evaluation sheet in their workbook that contains questions that focus on the quality and quantity of parenting time with child and the relationship with the other parent.

 

The child or children that are involved also receive a workbook called, “ A Book About (child’s name): A Booklet It is designed for Children Whose Parents Live Apart.”  It is designed to be a fun and interactive way for parents to talk with their child(ren).

 

Both workbooks are designed to encourage divorced or never married parents and their chlid(ren) to work together to facilitate communication between them and to explain good ways to handle living apart.

 

 

Benefits of Mediation vs. Court Litigation

What is Mediation?

 

It is a process of meeting with a neutral person, to work toward an agreement that is agreeable to everyone involved. A mediator guides discussions, but does not make decisions or take sides. It gives each person an ability to have their say in the outcome of the case and in their futures. VFS limits its services to cases involving children.

 

The goal of mediation is to find a solution that meets the needs of each parent and their children and that both parties feel is fair. At the end of mediation, the conclusion would be to have arrived at an agreement that works for the family as a whole.

Mediation can help to reduce stress, anger and misunderstanding, in order to improve communication between the parents concerning the upbringing and care their child or children.

 

Divorce is the end of a marriage but the parents’ role and responsibilities are forever. A mediator is trained to help the parents work through their pain associated with their divorce without allowing their emotions to influence the agreement. The children always get hurt in their parents’ divorce but can be lessened when both parents remain focused on what is best for their child or children.

 

“Parents can form effective, cooperative alliances that will translate into positive outcomes for their child when there are well designed programs to help support them.”

 

Predictors of Supportive Coparenting After Relationship Dissolution Among At Risk Parents,

Claire M. Kamp Dush, Letitia E. Kotila, & Sarah J. Schoppe-Sullivan.

Other Mediation FAQ’s:
How Much Does Mediation Cost?

 

The standard fee is $175.00 per hour. Participants that are court mandated through The Alabama Office of Corrections Grant (AOC), will not incur a fee.

What Happens At The End of Mediation?

 

At the end of mediation, parties receive a written Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of the decisions that both parties made together. This MOU is not a legally binding document and should be reviewed by an attorney before parties commit to a legal or court order.

 

Re-mediation may be necessary should other smaller issues arise such as late arrival and return when transporting children or lack of communication regarding after school activities may grow. Past poor habits can arise and cause greater problems for the family overall. Re-mediation provides additional help in working these issues out and forming a routine and positive co-parenting experience for the children involved.

How Long Does Mediation Take?

 

On average, mediation takes one to five sessions and last approximately two hours. Overall, the complexity of the dispute determines the length of sessions and quantity of those sessions.

What Is The Mediation Process?

 

The setting of mediation is both private and informal with normally only the three parties present. Both parental parties should note that the mediator will make sure that each party listens to the other, understands the other party’s needs and concerns, and that a solution is found.

How Is Mediation Started?

 

The process of divorce or separation is filled with possible disputed issues such as marital property, personal property, retirement, bank accounts, and most importantly, children. The usual outcome involves attorneys, tens of thousands of dollars and ending with a judge deciding what is best for your family and your children.

 

Mediation can come in during the litigation or before it even begins. VFS recommends parties speak with attorneys regarding their rights but encourages parties to consider mediation so they can take control of the outcome of their case and experience the benefits of this measure. If both parties agree to mediation, a common ground can be found and they can move forward with their lives. Assets are divided and a parenting plan is created that benefits the children most of all.

Do I Still Need An Attorney?

 

It is always best to consult with your attorney prior to mediation especially concerning financial matters. Mediation provides general information about the law and how the legal system works but cannot provide legal advice about your own legal rights or the best course of action for the parties concerned. Parties are strongly urged to take  the ending agreement and have it reviewed by an attorney prior to filing any paperwork with the court. As well, some parties may want to take their final paperwork to an attorney to have them prepare the final paperwork that will be filed with the court.

Is Mediation Confidential?

 

Normally mediation is confidential and will not pass on any information to anyone else unless both parties agree. There are two situations where information could be passed on:

 

If it appears from what is said during mediation that someone has been seriously harmed or is at risk of being hurt, the mediator will make contact with the police and the social services.

 

If something is said in mediation that leads the mediator to believe that either party is benefiting or has benefited from the proceeds of a crime, the mediator might have to stop the mediation and make contact with the police.

 

Factual information such as income or property ownership can be used in court proceedings at a future date should mediation talks break down and can be given to lawyers and overall court proceedings. However, what is said outside of factual information cannot be used later in court should mediation discontinue.

What If My Partner Is Violent?

 

Mediation discussions must be fair and safe. Each party will be privately consulted before mediation begins to see if a problem of violence exists. As an agency, VFS takes the issue of violence very seriously. We have specific resources available if needed with qualified personnel to help. VFS reserves the right to not proceed with mediation should there be any sign of abuse or pressure on a party to participate in the mediation process.

Is Mediation For Everyone?

 

VFS offers this service in relation to those who have children only but mediation can be used whether you have children or not and whether you are married or not. It is always voluntary but for mediation to be effective, both parties must take part without pressure from the other. Full disclosure about each party’s situation is crucial to the success of mediation.

When Can I Use Mediation?

 

Mediation can be used at any stage it would be helpful whether the parties are living together, living separately or already divorced.

“Successful coparenting relationships are beneficial for the children’s socioemotional development involving active cooperation and communication for parents.”

 

Predictors of Supportive Coparenting After Relationship Dissolution Among At Risk Parents, Claire M. Kamp Dush, Letitia E. Kotila, & Sarah J. Schoppe-Sullivan.

 

 

© 2016 by Vineyard Family Services

Ward Williams

Executive Director

ward@vfsdads.com

(205) 533-7852

Physical Address:

2834-H Pelham Parkway

Pelham, AL 35124

Stephanie Grissom

Program Director

stephiegrissom0@gmail.com

(205) 317-9897

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 2458

Alabaster, AL 35007

Charity Havercroft

Grants Manager

charityhavercroft@gmail.com

(205) 837-0265