A Parenting Plan can be drawn up by a social worker, psychologist or a suitably qualified person or organization such as parentingplans.org.za. The process can take the form of a guided DIY (Do it Yourself) drafting f a Parenting Plan or mediation (or assisted) where the decisions are then documented into the Parenting Plan.
A mediator or an organization could act as a neutral third party who can help both parties identify issues in dispute, discuss these issues and come up with possible solutions. A principle objective of the process is establishing trust and open communication lines, even if to facilitate an environment conducive to collaborative co-parenting.
In a time where ugly financial issues might rear its head, it is important to note that mediation usually costs less and can be much quicker than going to court.
Mediation helps encourage better communication between parents about child-related issues and can help to keep the focus on the children’s needs. During the mediation process, other people than family members can be included, such as a new partner or other family members, if needed, to get a different perspective on the issues being dealt with. As the mediation process is tailor-made to each family’s unique needs, the devised Parenting Plan is unique, crafted to suit the family’s circumstances. Effective, unique plans can make the transition to two separate households less stressful and benefits children by ensuring they receive support, nurturing and love from both parents.
The mediation process may be viewed as a potentially creative opportunity for parents despite the difficult circumstances as they can focus on parenting their children through mutually agreed upon rules rather than fighting the other parent. As parents work together to develop then plan, this may help them develop communication and negotiation skills that could potential spill over to other aspects of the settlement agreement.