Mediating Through Parental Conflict

One particular example of the unique circumstances and resulting parenting plan is a case in which the parents disagreed on many issues and often fell into destructive patterns when communicating directly. The goal of both mediators throughout the session was to understand and acknowledge the parents’ respective needs.

With guidance from the mediators, the parents created a parenting plan that encouraged both to maintain a positive role and presence in the child’s life. Although the parents could not agree on legal custody, they did agree to share physical custody. Furthermore, the plan encouraged equal amounts of time with the child.

The parents and mediators also devoted significant energy to formulating a thirteen-part communication plan to address how parents would share information about the child without subjecting either parent to potential harm. For example, when one parent could not abide by the schedule, he or she would leave a telephone message for the other parent no later than twenty-four hours in advance of the change. As such, the parents would not speak directly and plans would not change at the last moment.

To avoid conflict while exchanging the child, the parents agreed to drop off and pick up the child only at school or day care. In the event that neither location was available, the parents agreed to exchange the child at the Omaha Police Department.

Additionally, the parents devised a schedule for each holiday throughout the year in such a way that further diminished the occurrence of conflict. Specifically, the child would get picked up by one parent when school let out for the holiday and would remain with that parent until school resumed. They also agreed to alternate holidays between odd- and even-numbered years.

In this case, the mediators were pleased that they could assist the parents in developing a plan for parallel parenting. Safety and well-being of the child and both parents are of the utmost importance and thus become themes that occur throughout the drafting of the plan. Consequently, the parents look forward to being present in the life of their child by anticipating and circumventing potentially high-conflict situations.