As this blog has discussed previously, Nebraska law has been written in such a way to strongly encourage parents in this state to iron out their differences regarding custody and parenting time and to submit a detailed parenting plan to the court hearing their case.
As such, courts in Douglas County and throughout the greater Omaha area have the authority to order parents to try to negotiate a plan before the courts themselves are willing to create one for the parents. While men may welcome the opportunity to discuss a parenting plan with their children’s moms, others may be a bit apprehensive about the process, especially if it is unfamiliar.
There are two different types of negotiation a court will typically order. The first is what is called Parenting Act mediation. A qualified mediator appointed by the court, or agreed to between the parents, will sit down with both parents and act as a neutral third party who can facilitate discussions with the parents.
The idea is to help the parents reach an agreement about the details of the parenting plan, thus alleviating the need for the court to intervene.
In some cases, including cases involving domestic violence, traditional mediation may not be appropriate. In these situations, a court may allow specialized alternative dispute resolution, or SADR. While the SADR process also involves a third party who is supposed to help parents make their own decisions, meetings will usually take place with each parent individually.
The facilitator can then act as a go-between, helping the parents agree on a parenting plan that respects both of their rights and safety, as well as the best interests of the children involved.