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Settlement and Mediation of Parenting Time

Fort Wayne Lawyers Assist with Settlement and Mediation of Parenting Time

Effective resolutions for child custody disputes during and after divorce

Child custody, or parenting time as Indiana law refers to it, is often the most contentious issue during a divorce, and the conflict can re-emerge after the divorce has been finalized. One reason is that many couples take an adversarial approach. Fighting to impose your terms is usually not an effective way to gain agreement, and can cause the conflict to drag on. At Shilts & Setlak, LLC, we help parents cooperate whenever possible to craft a mutually agreeable parenting plan. When parties reach consensus, they are more likely to follow the plan and avoid future conflicts. Led by a Board-certified Family Law Specialist, and staffed by experienced family law mediators, our firm is perfectly positioned to help you resolve your parenting time conflicts constructively, so you can co-parent effectively for the good of your children.

Alternative methods of dispute resolution to family law matters

Parents in conflict over parenting time should try to reach a settlement before bringing the issue before a judge. Going to court is more expensive and involves the risk of an adverse decision. You have greater control when you develop a plan yourselves and present it to the judge for approval. There are several ways to reach a settlement, including:

  • Negotiation — During informal settlement discussions, each parent is represented by an attorney who negotiates on their behalf. Each lawyer pursues a resolution that fulfills their client’s goals. If talks break down, the parties can take the issues to court.
  • Mediation — In mediation, parties and their attorneys seek consensus under the guidance of a neutral third party. The mediator attempts to guide the parties toward a fair compromise. This process has a high rate of success, but if talks stall, the parties can take the case to court.
  • Collaborative divorce — Spouses in a collaborative divorce agree to share information and work together to reach an agreement. Each side has their own attorney and they split the costs of useful experts, such as child psychologists. If the parties can’t settle their differences, they must start the divorce process over with new lawyers.

Parents are permitted to draw up an agreement on their own, but you should present it to a lawyer for review before taking it to court. An experienced family law attorney can tell whether your proposal follows the state’s parenting time guidelines or if you might be adversely affected by the language in your agreement.

Unmarried parents have the same right to demand parenting time, as long as legal paternity has been established.

Avoiding unlawful tactics during parenting time disputes

If you have a parenting time plan in place, but are having difficulty making it work, you need to work out a modification. Battling with an uncooperative ex is not productive and can lead to legal sanctions against you, including:

  • Contempt of court
  • Injunctive relief
  • Criminal penalties
  • Payment of the other parent’s attorney fees

Never withhold child support as retribution for missed parenting time or neglect your responsibilities under the parenting time order. Our firm can initiate legal action if you are the victim of a violation.

The role of a parenting coordinator

In highly contentious cases, the court may appoint a parenting coordinator to help parents manage conflicts. This is useful for parents who have difficulty trusting or communicating with each other. An individual who serves as a parenting coordinator must be registered as an Indiana Domestic Relations Mediator.

Contact our Fort Wayne family law attorneys to settle disputes involving parenting time

Shilts & Setlak, LLC provides experienced counsel on parenting time in Fort Wayne and vicinity. Our office is located in Fort Wayne by the Parkview YMCA off Dupont Road. To schedule a consultation, call us at 260-999-5867 or contact us online.

Our Office
  • Fort Wayne Office
    10311 Dawson's Creek Boulevard
    Suite C
    Fort Wayne, Indiana 46825
    Phone: 260-489-0700
    Fax: 260-497-8954
  • Columbia City Office
    116 N. Main Street
    Columbia City, Indiana 46725
    Phone: 260-271-7200
    Fax: 260-497-8954