Now that you have decided to divorce your spouse, your children and their future are likely your primary concerns. Leaving all child-related matters to a judge may not be a good idea, though. After all, you may have little control over what a judge decides is best for the young ones in your family.
If you can reach an acceptable agreement with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, a judge is likely to defer to your bargain. While using mediation to negotiate legal and physical custody often makes a great deal of sense, you may want to tackle a few other important child-related matters. Here are four of them.
1. A regular visitation schedule
If you share custody of your kids with your former spouse, you need to know exactly when you have visitation. Therefore, you should consider negotiating a visitation schedule during your divorce mediation. When you do, do not forget to address special events, such as holidays, birthdays and vacations.
2. The custody exchange
At the beginnings and ends of your parenting time, you must exchange the kids with their co-parent. The timing and location of custody hand-offs are often a source of contention. By simply mediating when and where you exchange custody of your kids, you likely reduce future disagreements.
3. Extracurricular activities
As your children grow, so do their personal interests. Still, extracurricular activities can be expensive. Furthermore, you and your ex-spouse may disagree about the clubs or social groups your children should join. Mediation can help you resolve these issues before they arise.
4. A right of first refusal
You may not like the individuals with whom your soon-to-be ex-spouse interacts. If you do not want the children’s co-parent to leave the kids with someone you do not trust, you may want to negotiate a right of first refusal clause as part of your parenting plan. With this clause, your ex-spouse must check with you before letting someone else care for your children.
While a right of first refusal clause is not necessary in every post-divorce family, it may help to put your mind at ease. Regardless, by mediating important child-related matters during your divorce, you increase your chances of having an effective co-parenting relationship after your marriage ends.