A Guide to Drafting a Parenting Plan Through Mediation

Finding agreeable solutions within co-parenting can be challenging, but mediation can help parents find common ground and create parenting plans that work for everyone involved. At Natalie Baird Mediations, we understand the importance of creating a co-parenting blueprint that resolves disputes and prioritizes the child’s best interests.

Learn more about how working with a mediator can help you craft a personalized parenting plan for your unique situation and what provisions to consider when putting the plan together in mediation.

The Mediator’s Role in Parenting Plan Drafting

Central to the process of drafting a parenting plan through mediation is the role of the mediator. As impartial facilitators, our mediators navigate discussions with empathy and expertise. They provide a structured framework for communication, ensuring that both parties have a voice in shaping the plan while focusing on the children’s needs.

Natalie Baird-King is a Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, having met the state’s most stringent requirements of experience and expertise in guiding families toward resolution. She’s helped countless families throughout the Tampa Bay area find common ground to resolve family law disputes and create solutions that work for both parties.

Parenting Plan Provisions to Consider

When drafting a parenting plan through mediation, it’s essential to address these key provisions to lay the groundwork for amicable co-parenting success:

Parenting Schedule and Child Exchange

A clear and comprehensive parenting schedule ensures consistency and predictability for parents and children. By crafting a schedule that accommodates each parent’s availability while prioritizing the child’s routine and well-being, you can eliminate recurring scheduling conflicts and maximize the ease of the child’s transitions.

Decision-Making Authority

Clarifying decision-making authority regarding important aspects of the child’s life, such as education, healthcare, and religious upbringing, fosters mutual respect and cooperation between parents. Decision-making authority typically depends on the custody arrangement.

If parents share joint legal custody, they also share the decision-making rights and responsibilities. Sole legal custody means the parents will discuss health, education, and welfare decisions, but one parent holds final authority. Defining the specific rights of parents is helpful for reference if disputes arise.

Communication Guidelines

Effective communication is vital for successful co-parenting. Natalie will facilitate discussions on communication methods, frequency, and protocols to ensure that both parents remain informed and involved in their child’s life. Your parenting plan may establish things such as:

  • Information to be shared between parents
  • Method of communication, such as an app, shared calendar, or text message
  • Timing and frequency restrictions
  • In case of emergency communication guidelines
  • When parenting plan changes must be documented in writing

Education, Childcare, and Extracurriculars

Addressing arrangements related to education, childcare, and extracurricular activities promotes consistency and supports the child’s academic and social development. You’ll want to consider provisions for tutoring or special ed classes and how they’ll be paid for, how post-secondary education will be funded, and how parents will share information about school and childcare.


Detailing procedures for medical decision-making, healthcare providers, and insurance coverage ensures that the child’s medical needs are met promptly and efficiently. Questions to ask include:

  • Will the child receive vaccines that aren’t legally required?
  • When should one parent tell the other parent that a child will see or has seen a doctor?
  • Will both parents be able to access the child’s medical records?

Travel and Moves

Anticipating and addressing potential relocation or travel plans minimizes conflicts and ensures that both parents remain connected to their child’s life, even across geographical distances.

Are there times when the parents may travel with their child independently? Are there geographic boundaries that should not be crossed in travel? What happens if one parent decides to move?

These are all questions to address with your mediator.

Third-Party Involvement

Acknowledging the role of extended family members such as grandparents, caregivers, parents’ romantic partners, or other significant individuals in the child’s life can provide additional support and resources for the child’s well-being. For example, you may want to include a visitation schedule for the grandparents or outline boundaries for any new romantic partners that a parent intends to introduce to the child.

Child-Related Expenses

Clearly outlining financial responsibilities, including child support, healthcare, and extracurricular expenses, promotes financial transparency and accountability. Financial issues are some of the most common when co-parenting, so getting specific with your mediator and documenting all financial agreements in writing as part of the parenting plan can help resolve disputes.

Future Revisions

Recognizing that circumstances may change over time, Natalie can assist in establishing procedures for revising and updating the parenting plan as needed, ensuring its continued relevance and effectiveness. This may include regular revisions of the plan or circumstances that would trigger a revision, such as milestones in the child’s life.

A Parenting Plan That Works for All

Every child deserves a nurturing and supportive co-parenting environment. Mediation is an amicable dispute resolution method that allows both parties to work toward a plan that maintains the child’s best interests, setting the stage for a cooperative, long-term relationship.

Through open, two-way dialogue and empathetic guidance, we empower parents to draft a parenting plan that reflects their shared commitment to their child’s happiness and security. If you’re ready to create a parenting plan through a collaborative, amicable process, let Natalie Baird-King help you navigate it. Reach out to schedule a mediation session.