Chapter Seventeen: Question the current system
Read a Tony Robbins book. Do you believe that you can create your own reality, your own happiness, and your own success? The answer is that you can, even in a situation when you define success as having a workable relationship with an ex.
Let us say that you want to resolve your dispute with your ex. You believe that talking to a licensed counselor will be beneficial and will allow you to communicate better with your ex. You believe that the current legal system does not promote communication and opens the door to conflict. You and your ex see a therapist trained to meet your needs before you see an attorney and see what sort of parenting plan can be agreed upon. You may use your calendars to block out how you and your ex will share time with the child, looking at school schedules, vacations, and holidays. You and your ex agree that the therapist will be there to help you resolve future disputes.
If you are lucky enough to be in this situation, why not take the opportunity to try it? You have just redefined how you resolved your dispute. I would love to see more people schedule joint sessions with a therapist trained in cooperative parenting before they see a lawyer. By seeing the therapist, they are keeping the lines of communication open and they are creating a means by which they can trust each other.
At the very least, communicating with your ex gives you a feel for what your ex wants. You can go to your lawyer after and inform them on what you and your ex discussed. Your lawyer can draft an agreement based on what he or she believes most closely follows your discussion with your ex. Your lawyer can also ask you to rethink portions of your proposed agreement because they might think it impracticable or unsustainable.