Parenting After Divorce FAQs
- What is the best way to manage parenting problems?
- How do I change child support?
- How do I change the parenting or holiday schedule?
- My ex is moving, now what?
- My children are miserable. What should I do?
- My ex’s significant other/spouse interferes with parenting. What should I do?
Back to Divorce Mediation FAQS
1. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO MANAGE PARENTING PROBLEMS AFTER THE DIVORCE/BREAK-UP?
Courts are simply not equipped to manage the details of ongoing parenting conflicts. As a result, judges prefer that parents make their own decisions and most divorce decrees require mediation or professional parenting services (such as the use of a Parenting Consultant) before petitioning the court for a judgment. Parenting issues are often complicated and emotional, and they frequently result from circumstances which have nothing to do with custody labels or parenting schedules. The most common causes of ongoing parental conflict are poor communication and ill-defined expectations – topics which are not easily addressed by the law. My parenting mediation and parenting services allow you to better manage your parenting issues by empowering you to control your own future, resolve current problems, and lay the foundation for long-term success by establishing a guideline which helps ensure the problem does not repeat itself.
2. HOW DO I CHANGE CHILD SUPPORT?
If you have experienced a significant change in circumstances (such as loss of job or reduced income) you may petition the court for a child support review; however, this process can be time consuming and costly. Alternatively, you may decide to use mediation. As in the court process, you will each need to document your current gross income as well as medical insurance and daycare costs. In addition to the MN child support guidelines we can also discuss alternatives which may better serve the financial needs of all involved. Agreements about child support adjustments need to be submitted to the court for entry of judgment. This can be accomplished by submitting a stipulated agreement for the judge’s approval.
3. HOW DO I CHANGE THE PARENTING OR HOLIDAY SCHEDULE?
At the time your original parenting plan is created it is impossible to predict all the ways your life and your children’s needs may change. Adjustments to the parenting schedule are not uncommon; however they are often difficult to negotiate. A costly custody evaluation can be very stressful and emotionally damaging for all involved. Mediation is an excellent starting point. If you and your parenting partner are unable to reach an agreement, you may consider working with a Parenting Consultant or Parenting Time Expeditor.
A residential move can be extremely problematic for parenting partners, especially if the move makes the current parenting schedule unworkable. Understandably the legal battle can get quickly get out of control. More often than not, the options are not satisfactory to one or both parents. Working with a mediator can help you discover unknown options, keep costs down and most importantly help shield your children from a high conflict legal battle. If you and your parenting partner are unable to reach a mediated agreement, you may consider working with a Parenting Consultant.
5. MY CHILDREN ARE MISERABLE. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
When a parent says that the children dislike going to the other parent’s house, that the schedule isn’t working, or that the children are not receiving quality parenting, the root cause of the problems are not often removed by changing custody. I typically find that the primary issue is conflict between the parents, often due to poorly defined parenting plans. Your parenting plan is your safety net. It needs to be detailed enough to help you resolve parenting disagreements. If your parenting plan is non-existent or not very detailed, that is the first place to start when you are looking for ways to improve your child’s day-to-day life. Sometimes parental disagreements actually stem from unresolved marital issues which have little to do with the children. In these cases, the services of a therapist often are more helpful than going to court.
6. MY EX’S SIGNIFICANT OTHER/SPOUSE INTERFERES WITH PARENTING. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Even the best parenting partnerships can experience stress when a new significant other or spouse comes on the scene. Like many challenges, the best defense is a good offense. It is important for everyone involved to understand and respect boundaries – when in doubt, defer to the other parent’s comfort level and expectations. Be clear about your expectations and needs. Respect your parenting partner’s boundaries. Unless you have specifically agreed otherwise (or it is an emergency situation), communication about the children should occur only between the parents. Take it slow and seek the assistance of a mediator, parenting consultant or coach if conflict about the new relationship continues to negatively impact the parenting relationship.