collaborative divorce

Drafting a Parenting Plan – Benefits of Collaborative Divorce

Written By: Ann Conway & Kathrine Lacey


Collaborative divorce allows parents more control over the parenting plan than litigation. In the collaborative process, the parents guide the parenting plan as they know their children best. Both the attorneys and the coach assist the parents in developing a plan that supports each child’s bond with the individual parent. A well-developed parenting plan that both parents “buy into” decreases the impact of the divorce on the children.

The coach aids the parents to place their love for their children above any animosity they may feel about their divorce and adds detail and specificity to the plan. Specificity on vacations, summers, holidays, and exchange time reduces future conflict. Each family is different, and the coach will guide the parents to determine which holidays take precedence for their family. This often puts the parents in a place of being confronted with the need to compromise for their children’s happiness.

The process of drafting a parenting plan is one of the first steps in divorcing parents’ developing a new relationship as co-parents. Taking this step with the support of a collaboratively trained coach helps the parents see things from their children’s perspective and helps the parents discuss the basic ingredients of a healthy co-parenting relationship and communication. Oftentimes these skills were not developed during the marriage.

Active listening is the process of focusing on what the other person is trying to communicate. Essentially reiterating what they have heard the other parent say to check for accuracy. All too often people listen to respond rather than listen to hear and understand. It is easy to inaccurately assume what the other has said because of the naturally defensive mode of divorce. Active listening, supported by the coach, prevents the parents from being positional instead of interest based.

Your attorney will review the language and make any suggestions that he/she may feel is appropriate for approval by the court after the coach and the parents are comfortable with the draft.

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