Let’s face it, most of the time in mediation it’s all about the kids. The majority of my time is spent negotiating either possession and access or child support or rights and duties. So in this post it’s all about the kids in mediation.
In mediation we do not have to go by the presumptions and often times do not. Keeping in mind it’s all about the kids, these presumptions do not always fit for every family.
This possession schedule often works well for most families. There are some expansions of the schedule which provide a little bit more time during the school year as well. Often times parents have schedules that do not work for this and we need to create different possession schedules. Below are a few examples:
Week on Week off: This is where each parent has the child for 7 consecutive days. This results in less exchanges for the child and a consistent routine. This schedule often does not work if the parents do not live close or if the parents are not able to communicate well.
Two-Two-Three: This has many variations and is sometimes called a Two-Two-Five. The most common is Parent A has the child on Monday and Tuesday. Parent B has the child on Wednesday and Thursday. Then the weekends rotate.
Standard with an Added Day: On the weeks where the “non-primary” parent does not have the weekend they get an extra night on Wednesday and elect to expand Thursday to being overnight.
These are just some of the more common schedule adjustments.
Generally it is true that courts will defer to the guidelines when calculating child support, however, sometimes figuring out the income of a party is difficult. For example, in 2020 many people lost income and are just now starting to work again. It would be unjust to use the 2020 income to calculate child support if they have new employment in 2021. Sometimes people work in industries where their income fluctuates drastically from month to month. It would be unjust to just take the highest monthly amount and calculate child support.
Generally speaking, most cases have the parties being joint managing conservators, but the rights and duties fluctuate in who can make what decisions for the children. Sometimes those decisions are joint where both parties have to agree. Sometimes they are exclusive where one party makes the decisions. Other times they are independent where either party can make decisions. In mediation we evaluate each family situation to determine what will work for them.
When coming to mediation, keep in mind, it’s all about the kids. Not every family fits into the Texas Family Code’s presumptions.