Parenting coordination is a child-focused alternative dispute resolution process where a professional with mediation, and often clinical training helps parents in conflict implement their parenting plan and resolve their disputes. This service involves a combination of family dynamic assessment, education, case management, and conflict management to help parents resolve their conflicts, and with the prior approval of the court, facilitate parenting decisions within the scope of their court orders. The objective is to help high conflict parents implement their parenting plan, monitor compliance, and resolve conflict in a time and cost-efficient manner while minimizing court involvement. The ultimate aim of this role is to protect and sustain healthy and meaningful parent-child relationships (See AFCC Guidelines).
Understanding how divorce disrupts the social, emotional, and psychological adjustment of children/adolescents can be overwhelming, confusing, and complex. A mental health consultant assists a single parent to navigate their divorce/separation/parenting concerns effectively, work effectively with their co-parent, and reduce on-going conflict for the best interest of their child(ren). To increase the probability of effectiveness, this is a confidential process which may fall under the attorney-client work product privilege. This can be a very valuable service for an attorney who is advocating for their client’s best interest to help their client not make critical mistakes in the divorce process that might make settlement over child custody and parenting matters more difficult. And for a parent who desires to understand how divorce/separation can disrupt the development of their child(ren), intervene early in the divorce/separation process to prevent a potentially costly and long custody battle, and to function optimally while in transition or custody proceedings for the best interest of their child(ren).
Co-parenting counseling is designed to help parents learn to parent together successfully so they can give their children the opportunity to adjust to family breakup and negotiate their lives successfully during and after divorce. This services provides a combination of mediation and psychotherapy to help parents learn to communicate with each other, resolve conflicts that arise in divorce and separation, formulate appropriate parenting plans, introducing significant others, and, among other things, address child developmental needs in divorce/separation and make day-to-day decisions for their children without requiring legal intervention. For some high conflict situations these options might not be appropriate.
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process where disagreeing parties can come together short of litigation to settle their disputes with the help of a third party. Participation is typically voluntary and includes a variety of benefits to the parties- including cost savings, confidentiality, self-determination, greater control over the process, compliance, mutuality, and support. Agreements made in mediation can be ratified by the court. Mediation is often a desirable and cost-effective alternative to litigation and for ongoing conflict resolution post separation/divorce.