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Table of Contents I Introduction A. Make Your Own Custody Decisions If Possible I/2 B. What If We Need Outside Help? I/3 C. Balancing Parenting and Financial Issues I/3 D. Why This Book Is Unique I/4 E. A Word to Skeptics I/5 F. What If You Just Want to Fight? I/5 G. Icons Used in This Book I/7 Part I Getting Started 1 Taking Stock of Your Situation A. You Are Not Alone 1/2 B. Keep Your Parenting Plan Focused on Your Children 1/2 C. It Gets Easier Over Time 1/3 D. Learn How to Negotiate 1/4 E. If the Other Parent Is Absent 1/5 F. If There Is Violence or Abuse in the Family 1/5 2 An Introduction to Parenting Agreements A. What Parenting Agreements Cover 2/2 B. Advantages of Parent-Negotiated Agreements 2/2 C. Goals of a Successful Parenting Agreement 2/3 D. Parenting Agreements and Custody 2/5 3 Getting Organized A. Organize and Review Documents 3/2 B. Completing the Worksheets 3/3 C. Sample Worksheets 3/4 4 How to Negotiate a Parenting Agreement A. Knowing What You Need and Want 4/3 B. When Conflict Gets in the Way 4/4 C. Using Effective Negotiation and Problem-Solving Strategies 4/9 D. Breaking Through Impasses 4/12 E. Knowing Where to Get Help and Support 4/16 Part II Your Parenting Agreement 5 Building Your Agreement A. Where to Begin 5/2 B. Cooperate! Cooperate! Cooperate! 5/3 C. Get Outside Help 5/3 D. Keep Your Agreement Current 5/4 6 Basic Elements A. Issue 1: Where Our Children Will Live 6/3 B. Issue 2: Medical, Dental, and Vision Care 6/10 C. Issue 3: Disparaging Remarks 6/12 D. Issue 4: Consistency in Raising Children 6/12 E. Issue 5: Holidays 6/13 F. Issue 6: Education 6/15 G. Issue 7: Insurance 6/19 H. Issue 8: Making Decisions 6/21 I. Issue 9: Resolving Disputes 6/23 J. Issue 10: Labeling the Custody Arrangement 6/26 7 Finishing Touches A. Issue 11: Exchanging Information 7/3 B. Issue 12: Child Care 7/5 C. Issue 13: Special Occasions and Family Events 7/7 D. Issue 14: Vacations 7/8 E. Issue 15: Outside Activities 7/9 F. Issue 16: Transporting the Children 7/10 G. Issue 17: Improving Transition Times 7/11 H. Issue 18: Maintaining Contact 7/13 I. Issue 19: Grandparents, Relatives, and Important Friends 7/15 J. Issue 20: Psychiatric and Other Mental Health Care 7/16 K. Issue 21: Religious Training 7/17 L. Issue 22: Surname 7/18 M. Issue 23: Treating Each Child as an Individual 7/19 N. Issue 24: Separating Adult and Parenting Issues 7/21 O. Issue 25: Making Changes 7/22 P. Issue 26: Making Substantive Changes to the Agreement 7/24 Q. Issue 27: Explaining the Agreement to Your Children 7/24 8 Serious Issues A. Issue 28: Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, and Child Neglect 8/2 B. Issue 29: Alcohol or Drug Abuse 8/6 C. Issue 30: Undermining the Parent-Child Relationship 8/8 D. Issue 31: Denying Access to the Children 8/9 E. Issue 32: If Extended Family Members or Close Friends Are Fueling the Dispute 8/10 9 Special Circumstances A. Issue 33: Moving 9/3 B. Issue 34: When Parenting Styles and Values Differ 9/7 C. Issue 35: When a Parent Needs to Develop Parenting Skills 9/9 D. Issue 36: When Parents Have New Partners 9/9 E. Issue 37: If Our Homes Are Far Apart 9/11 F. Issue 38: When Nonrelatives Live in the Home 9/12 G. Issue 39: Reinvolving a Previously Absent Parent 9/13 H. Issue 40: Driving and Owning a Car, Motorcycle, or Off-Road Vehicle 9/15 I. Issue 41: International Travel and Passports 9/16 J. Issue 42: Military Service 9/17 K. Issue 43: Allowing Underage Marriage 9/18 Part III Beyond Your Parenting Agreement 10 Child Support, Alimony, and Jointly Owned Property A. Understanding Child Support 10/2 B. Understanding Alimony or Spousal Support 10/4 C. Negotiating Child and Spousal Support 10/6 D. Dividing Jointly Owned Property 10/7 11 Making Mediation and Arbitration Work for You A. How Mediation Works 11/2 B. Why Mediation Works 11/2 C. Proposing Mediation 11/3 D. Understanding Basic Mediation Techniques 11/4 E. Why Mediation Works in Very Difficult Cases 11/7 F. What Mediators Don¿t Do 11/9 G. Choosing Between Court-Ordered and Private Mediation 11/9 H. When the Mediator Makes a Recommendation to the Court 11/10 I. Custody Evaluations 11/11 J. Choosing a Mediator 11/11 K. Preparing for Mediation 11/12 L. If You Can¿t Reach an Agreement 11/13 M. Alternatives to Mediation 11/13 12 Dealing With Changes in Your Agreement A. Why Changes Are Necessary¿And How to Handle Them 12/2 B. When You Are the One Initiating Change 12/3 C. When You Are the One Responding to a Request for Change 12/4 D. When Tensions Are Running High 12/5 E. What to Do After You Negotiate the Changes 12/5 13 Understanding Your Children¿s Needs A. Strategies for Your Children at Any Age 13/2 B. Strategies for Your Children at Different Ages and Developmental Stages 13/5 C. Strategies for Children With Special Needs 13/8 14 Multiracial, Multicultural, and International Families A. Accommodating Differences in Child-Rearing Practices 14/2 B. Encouraging Children to Celebrate the Traditions of Both Parents 14/2 C. Sorting Out the Role of Power Within the Family 14/3 D. Working Within the American Legal System 14/3 E. Deciding Whether Another Country Has Authority Over Parenting (Custody) Issues 14/4 15 Nontraditional Families A. What Are Nontraditional Families? 15/2 B. The Legal Relationship of a Nontraditional Parent and His or Her Children 15/2 C. Recognizing the Nontraditional Parent¿s Role 15/6 D. Resolving Conflict in a Way That Meets Your Family¿s Needs 15/6 E. Creating New Relationships After the Divorce or Separation 15/7 16 State and Federal Laws Affecting Child Custody A. Custody and Visitation 16/2 B. Best Interests of the Child 16/3 C. Mediation 16/7 D. Interference With Custody 16/9 E. Interstate Custody Disputes 16/10 F. International Custody Disputes 16/10 G. Custody and the IRS 16/11 17 Help Beyond the Book A. Researching Legal Issues 17/3 B. Researching Nonlegal Issues 17/5 C. Research on the World Wide Web 17/5 D. Finding Professionals Who Can Help 17/6 E. Additional Resources 17/10 F. Bibliography 17/12 A Appendix: Tear-Out Forms Worksheet 1: Describe Your Child Worksheet 2: Describe Your Relationship With Your Child Worksheet 3: Adding the Details Worksheet 4: Checklist of Issues for Your Parenting Agreement Parenting Agreement I Index
Library of Congress Subject Headings for this publication:
Custody of children -- United States -- Popular works.
Divorce settlements -- United States -- Popular works.