One Way to Get Good Child Custody Decisions After Divorce

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.

During a divorce, especially a divorce with children, one of the biggest challenges in your child custody plan is coming up with a solution for making decisions about the children when you and your ex-husband disagree.

One of my favorite ways to do this is called the Round Robin decision-making process. I’m not sure who invented this, but if I did know, I would certainly give her credit!

The Round Robin process is used to choose health care providers, after school activities, camps, or daycares….. the list is endless.

I often put this exact language into a divorcing couple’s parenting plan:

The “Round Robin” Decision Making Process.

For all contested decisions, the parents shall use the Round Robin process set forth below.

1) Proposal: When a decision needs to be made, the parent wishing to have a decision made shall notify the other parent via email. The other parent shall confirm receipt of the email within twenty four hours. The initiating parent shall include the following: the proposed decision, an explanation of the basis of the proposal, any relevant documentation (including but not limited to brochures and information sheets, consent forms), contact information for the relevant facility / activity / professional(s) (health care providers, educators, or other professionals related to the proposal), and any potential costs or fees that will be incurred.

2) Response from non-proposing parent. The non-proposing parent shall respond via email within 48 hours of notice of receipt of the proposal. If the non-proposing parent does not respond or expressly agrees, the decision is made.

3) Disagreement and Counter-Proposal After reviewing the proposal including all attachments, and after conducting research about the proposed item under review, the non-proposing parent may not agree. In this event, then that parent shall provide his/her counter-proposal. The parent receiving that communication then agrees or, after researching, disagrees and then they do one more round of this process. The parent who is last to disagree at end of the second round must initiate, in writing, an arbitration procedure with a predetermined arbitrator who shall be given the authority to make a binding decision. The arbitrator shall be given all of the materials exchanged by the parties along with a cover letter from each party.

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As you can see, this allows each parent the opportunity to provide input into any important decision regarding the children, since of course, the point is to do what’s best for the kids, not the parents. This way, each parent can fully consider the other parent’s thinking and resources around a particular decision. Hopefully at some point in the process, both parties come to agreement. And if not, this process provides an easy and workable way to make decisions.

Amanda DuBois is a Seattle Divorce Lawyer with 20 years of experience helping women out of complicated marriages. She is a published author, a radio personality, and the developer of the Divorganize Divorce Support and Education Program, a 17 video series covering all aspects of Divorce Strategies for Women. If you live in the Seattle area, and need help from a great and caring Divorce Attorney experienced in handlingSeattle Divorce and Child Custody Issues, contact Amanda at (206) 547-1486.

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