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Resolving parenting plan disputes

When California parents of young children get a divorce, they may find themselves unable or unwilling to cooperate when it comes to the parenting plan, especially if they have schedules that vary widely. Even if the parents have spent some of the past arguing, there are still steps they can take to regroup and reach an agreement that works for everyone involved.

First, parents should make a list of their absolute priorities for the parenting plan. For example, if a parent wants a certain holiday with their children, this should go on the list. Next, parents should talk to each other about what days are important for them. This may open up a discussion about potential compromises. Parents should utilize their prior scheduling to back up their requests. For example, if the ex had the children for birthdays last year, a parent could negotiate for birthdays this year.

Once a parent knows what days are most important to the ex, conceding on some requests can be helpful. This may lead to some swapping of compromises, meaning both parents get something that matters to them. If negotiations start to get heated, it is fine to take a break to sleep on it. If parents find that they simply cannot work together, it may be time to get a mediator involved.

If parents continue to fight and be non-cooperative, the arguments can have an impact on the children. A family law attorney may assist with the mediation process. During mediation, the attorney may assist with resolving any issues that the client has, especially if the parents cannot agree over who gets the kids for birthdays and other important holidays. The mediator may also help the parents compromise on important issues regarding the kids' schooling and health care decisions.

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