One challenge for parents in New Jersey during or after a divorce may be negotiating parenting issues that are smaller than those around custody and support. A judge is unlikely to want to micromanage what activities a child participates in, but parents may find themselves in conflicts they cannot resolve. However, if they cannot come to an agreement through talking to one another, there are a number of professionals available for help.
One option is a collaborative divorce. This involves the couple agreeing to not use litigation and hiring collaborative attorneys. A child specialist, a collaborative coach and financial planners might also be used in a collaborative divorce. However, if talks break down and litigation is necessary, new attorneys must be hired.
Mediation is another option. This involves conflict resolution and compromise. While mediation itself is not legally binding, attorneys can assist in drawing up a document based on an agreement reached in mediation that is.
If parents are stuck on one or a few single issues, they can hire a co-parenting coordinator to arbitrate. This is not legally binding either, but parents can agree to stick with the coordinator's decision. A co-parenting counselor can help parents work through some of their conflicts and may provide them with problem solving skills for the future.
Parents may struggle to negotiate child custody and a parenting plan with one another. However, if they can keep the process low-conflict, this is better for the children. They may be able to address many parenting issues in the parenting agreement, and this will prevent them having to return to the negotiating table repeatedly after divorce. They might even want to write a method for conflict resolution into the parenting agreement. Ultimately, in these conflicts, parents should be guided by the principle of the child's best interests just as a judge would be.