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How to get 'unstuck' when negotiating a parenting plan

These days, family courts are encouraging parents to negotiate their own parenting plans. Even Florida's legislature is getting behind cooperation and compromise when it comes to parenting by changing the words "child custody" to "time sharing" in the statutes. As more research is done regarding child rearing, the courts' perspective of what is in the best interests of the child now often emphasizes that both parents should continue being part of their children's lives.

If you and the other parent are attempting to meet these new demands, but have reached an impasse, you may be able to get the negotiations moving again. The tips below may help you end up with a parenting plan that you both can agree on and that best meets the needs of your children.

Take a break from the negotiations

No one said that you have to come to an agreement overnight. If you and the other parent are having trouble staying on track, perhaps a break may be in order. The time away could provide each of you with a new perspective and a better chance at reaching an agreement.

Revisit your priorities

While you step away, this may be a good time to revisit your list of priorities. What is it that you feel is worth arguing over? What points are you willing to compromise? Now that you have some idea of what the other parent is thinking and wants, you may find your desires shifting as well.

The other parent may concede those things that you don't want to budge on if you provide evidence, along with logical reasons. You may also need to concede something to your ex as well. When each of you gets something you want, it may make other decisions easier to make.

Think about all of the events that may occur in the lives of your children during the year. Which ones would you want to spend with your children the most? Which ones would you give to the other parent? In the alternative, the two of you may decide that you want to share certain events, holidays and school functions. These choices are really up to you and the other parent.

Take help when you need it

You aren't the only parents who need a little extra help staying on track. If you think you need more help, mediation may be the next step. This would be in addition to the assistance of a family law attorney who could help you ensure that your parenting plan protects your rights, includes the provisions you want and meets with the approval of the court.

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