Top Considerations for Divorcing Parents in Bucks County, PA

Top Considerations for Divorcing Parents in Bucks County, PA

Top considerations and issues that arise during divorce, such as child custody, support, and visitation, can be contentious and difficult. We hope to provide tips on handling parenting during and after a divorce, focusing on the emotional well-being of the children involved. Mediation can help parents come to agreements in the best interests of the children and each other.

What is divorce mediation?

Divorce mediation is a court-approved process using a trained, neutral party to encourage and facilitate dispute resolution between each party. Mediation is informal and non-adversarial, intending to help parties reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary agreement. Mediation delivers straight-line communication between parties without circumventing each other through attorneys.

Mediation makes it easier for parents to co-parent after divorce because they craft a parenting plan that is detailed to their own needs and schedules. Mediation also models cooperative behavior so that children see their parents working together.

Couples who mediate learn conflict-resolution skills so that if they have disagreements in the future (over custody, payments, or other matters), they already have the skills to work together to find a mutually beneficial outcome without necessarily having to go back to court.

How are visitation rights determined?

Visitation rights allow the non-custodial parent access to the children. Visitation can also be extended to grandparents and other relatives. A non-custodial parent or grandparent can be awarded visitation rights when the court considers visits to be in a child’s best interests. The non-custodial parent could have the right to supervised, unsupervised, or virtual visits, depending on the circumstances. (forbes.com)

Specific and structured schedules can be created.

  • When the non-custodial parent sees the child, such as every other weekend or during school breaks
  • Time, travel, and visitation for holidays and special events
  • Determine the scheduled pick-ups and drop-offs and, when applicable, who will be responsible for transportation such as airfare and trains.

Discussing visitation can be emotional and contentious. A divorce mediator in Bucks County, PA, can help by providing a calm, less hostile environment and delivering a mutually agreeable, cost-effective solution.

What is child custody, and how does mediation help?

According to Forbes.com, to understand visitation rights, it is essential to understand the different kinds of custody arrangements. These include the following: 

  • Sole custody: A parent with sole custody takes care of the child most or all the time. This is referred to as physical custody. Typically, the parent has exclusive rights to decide on a child’s behalf. This is referred to as legal custody.
  • Primary custody: A parent with primary custody takes care of the child the majority of the time, but the other parent also has visitation rights or parenting time. The parent with primary physical custody may have sole legal custody or legal custody may be shared, meaning both parents make decisions about the child.
  • Joint custody: Joint custody is when parents share physical custody, and both spend close to the same amount of time caring for the child. Often, but not always, they also share legal custody

The right custody arrangement depends on many factors, including the parents’ preferences and each parent’s ability to provide a stable, loving home and meet the child’s needs.

Child custody determines which parent makes decisions for the children and with whom the children live. It includes two types: physical custody, which concerns where the children reside, and legal custody, which concerns decision-making authority.

Sometimes, parents cannot come up with a plan for sharing child custody on their own. When that happens, they may choose to go to mediation or be required to attend court-ordered mediation. The divorce mediator is a neutral, trained professional who helps the couple better communicate and find areas of consensus. A mediator engages with the parents (who usually pay an hourly rate for this service) to help them develop a parenting plan that works best for them and their children.

Parents can still be represented by a family law attorney when they are going through the mediation process to try to determine child custody. The purpose of mediation is for a trained professional to facilitate the discussion necessary for parents to find a solution that works for their family.

Child support in the divorce mediation process

Child support often becomes a prickly and emotional issue during divorce. The receiving parent may find the amount insufficient, while the paying parent might consider it excessively high. No matter the reason, as a parent, you are required to support your child financially. If you do not have custody of your child, in most cases, you are legally required to provide money to the other parent with custody of your son or daughter until your child becomes an adult. If you have custody of your child and you’re a single parent receiving child support, you may be concerned that payments are delinquent or the amount of money you receive is insufficient. On the other hand, if you’re making child support payments, it can be challenging to meet your child support commitments and juggle your finances, even if the amount of money you shell out each month seems reasonable. (money.usanews.com)

John Millett, a divorce mediator in Bucks County, PA, is familiar with the PA Child Support Program and the estimator provided by the State of Pennsylvania. However, a mediator seeks to offer a mutually agreeable payment schedule, and through a mediator, the couple works together to create a fair and equitable child support payment schedule. When both parents have the best interest of the child (children) at heart, mediation creates a fair space to work through all aspects of custody, visitation, and support.

Alternatives to traditional divorce in Bucks County, PA

Are you looking to get divorced in Bucks County, Pennsylvania? Divorces can be complex in many ways, but they don’t have to be. At Safer Divorce, John Millett believes divorce mediation can help avoid an extremely lengthy process that could harm your entire family. In addition, many participants in divorce mediation are more satisfied without the high cost of divorce litigation. Why not schedule a free consultation?

 

Resources: Forbes.com, money.usanews.com, PA Child Support Program,

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