In divorce mediation, we work hard to reach an agreement to design a plan for both parents to participate actively in raising their children. That participation includes making important decisions. Most parents decide to share in making important decisions.
The parenting plan also divides custodial time between parents. In mediation, we are able to take our time to maximize the time children are with each parent, as much as possible. We consider the children’s school and activity schedules, the parents’ work schedules, the extended families' holiday traditions and historic vacation plans to tailor a parenting plan specific to each family.
Occasionally, one parent may tell me that they want “sole custody” or “50/50” or “legal custody.” In West Virginia, that way of thinking is not supported by the law. When parents can't work to develop a “parenting plan”, the judge orders a plan to describe how the parents will share their custodial time and how they will make decisions.
This infograph describes the basic components of the parenting plan. The first set of images represents how parents will make important decisions. These decisions typically include three important areas: medical care, education, and religious decisions. The parents also decide where the children will be sleeping during the school year, on holidays and during the summer. These parts of the parenting plan then combine to provide children with the most time and involvement with each parent.
Parenting plans may also include many other provisions to meet the unique needs of each family.