Co-parenting, the fashionable term for two parents who share the responsibility of rearing their children, can be complicated even under the best of circumstances. If custody, support and visitation are awarded by the court in a divorce, the terms are usually straight-forward, and they are usually ordered by a judge who has no real understanding of your family dynamics.

But what if you’ve had children without marrying and now you’re splitting up? Is it mandatory to hire a lawyer and appear in court?

Mediation is another way to figure out how to share parenting responsibilities when you’re no longer sharing a home. A trained family mediator will help you develop your customized parenting plan with provisions that YOU decide are important to YOUR family. And if a decision you make in mediation needs some tweaking at a later date, you simply make another appointment with your mediator.