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Categories: Parenting

Whether you created a parenting plan years ago that now requires a change or you would like to put one in place now to ensure more stability and routine around your parenting roles, mediation can help save you a lot of time and stress.

Many families repeatedly go back to their lawyers or worse -court- when they are trying to resolve a conflict after divorce. There is nobody that knows your children better than you do. I understand that bitterness and anger still may play a role in decision making with your ex-partner. Using one neutral third party to help you both work through these issues on your timeline while saving your money just makes good sense.

Often trying to make the smallest of changes in the months or years after a separation results in the largest of fights.

Why are changes so difficult?

  • There is no longer any motivation for one parent to make a change

  • Changes that are seen as benefiting the other parent and not the child and are opposed to immediately.

  • Emotions and bitterness may still be underlying the response

  • When the children seem to have adapted and be happy the thought of a change and disruption to their routine does not seem like a positive one

  • Sometimes the change is initiated by the child and one parent holds strongly to the separation agreement and 'their' right to spend time with the child

  • Communication issues have always been and continue to be a problem for the parents

  • The parents have adjusted and made changes in their lives to accommodate the parenting schedule. Changes are seen as a threat and an inconvenience for the parents, or at least one of them

  • One parent resents a new relationship the other is in and unreasonably withholds approval of a change

  • The parents just have very different parenting styles and values

The parenting plan document is meant to evolve over time and modifications and/or additions should be made as parents become more familiar with their new roles or as the needs of either the children or the parents change.

Do any of these quotes sound like something you've said or thought?

'If only I'd known then what I know now.'

'We've all had time to life with our plan and we need to tweak it.'

'It was a great plan but things have changed.'

'The children aren't happy with the plan we put together years ago.'

Your parenting relationship continues and evolves over time just as the parenting plan does, or at least it should. All child related issues can be modified if the need is there. Communication is the key to resolving disputes in parenting. Mediation services exist to help guide parents through these conversations in order to reduce further conflict and ensure that the focus remains on the best interests of the children.

Just as you did during your separation, focus on the children and you will continue to be successful with your co-parenting relationship...the only one that really matters now!

Julie Gill is a Family Mediator with Families First Mediation. For more information please visit her website at or contact her at 905.427.0100 or