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    Parenting Coordination

    It is a proven fact that children who are exposed to high levels of parental conflict suffer long-term adverse effects. Parents who engage in respectful communication tend to resolve their own issues and are less likely to expose their children to damaging conflict.

    Litigation adds hostility to a family situation that is already traumatic and stressful for children.

    When children live in two different homes, parenting can be very challenging under the best of circumstances.  But children need cooperative parents who minimize conflict – especially when the conflict affects the time a child spends with the other parent.

    Parenting Coordination is a process in which parties to a custody or visitation dispute meet with a professional Parenting Coordinator to help them work on communication, access schedules and shared parenting. Parenting Coordination allows parents to meet in a safe, confidential environment in order to reduce conflict and help parents communicate more effectively with each other to increase quality parenting time with children and to develop parentingand access plans that make sense for their family.    

    If you feel that communicating or working with the other parent is hopeless, Parenting Coordination can help. The goal of Parenting Coordination is to open the lines of communication early in the legal process to assist you in learning how to parent your children in two separate households. It doesn't mean you have to agree on everything. In fact, you may not agree on much. But our goal is to give you ways to communicate effectively for the sake of your children. 

    We understand that the sooner you are out of litigation, the better it is on the children. With the guidance of a Parenting Coordinator you will learn about tools to assist you in working together -- or at least  side by side -- when it comes to making decisions or communicating about your children. Parenting Coordination is always an option, even if other services have already been ordered or started. If you are successful in reaching agreements, you may even find you do not need to move forward with the other services ordered.

     

    Man and woman building bridges

     

    PARENTING COORDINATION OFFERS:      

          MEETINGS with a Family Court Services Parenting Coordinator in effort to resolve shared parenting issues including access scheduels and parenting plans.

          EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES to reduce conflict and eliminate disruptive and unproductive behavior.

          ASSISTANCE in implementing an agreed or court-ordered access plan so children have continuous, consistent contact with both parents, when appropriate.

          EDUCATION, including help in understanding agreed or court-ordered access schedules and referrals to online or live workshops on communication, resolving conflict, managing anger and understanding the effects of family conflict on children.

          REFERRALS to other family professionals, when appropriate, to help children rebuild parental relationships and create positive visitation experiences.  

    You have nothing to lose in attempting this process – there are no fees and the information in the sessions is confidential.

     

        

    Why Try Parenting Coordination?

    • Children are best served when they have consistent, regular access to both parents in a safe environment.
    • Although the parents are not a couple anymore, they are still bound by the children they had together and it is important for both parents to respect the special parent-child relationship.
    • It is important for parents to encourage a child's time and access with the other parent.
    • Because the parents are not a couple anymore, disagreements may arise regarding parenting styles and decisions.
    • Parents should make every effort to resolve issues about thier children outside the courtroom.
    • Families are better served when they make decisions for themselves, rather than relying on the court to make decisions for them.
    • Sometimes, parents need help resolving child-related issues.
    • Our Parenting Coordinators are masters-level professionals and trained,  experienced mediators. In fact, all FCS caseworkers are trained mediators.
    • Parenting Coordination gives parents the power to resolve their own issues as parents and to customize schedules to their own family's needs.
    • Contested litigation adds hostility to a family situation that is already traumatic and stressful for the children but parents who resolve their child issues themselves reduce the damage to their children.
    • Parents who reach agreements with regard to their children will reduce the financial burden of litigation.

    What Can I Expect in a Parenting Coordination Meeting?

    ·      Attorneys and/or litigants may agree to Parenting Coordination.

    ·      Intake and orientation required before a Parenting Coordinaton meeting.  All clients and attorneys must participate in intake in the Family Court Services office before services will begin. Parents will also be required to attend the FCS Orientation which is available every Wednesday at 8:45 a.m. (except for the week of Thanksgiving and Christmas).

    ·      Our Parent Coordinators are masters level professionals and trained mediators. In fact, all FCS caseworkers are trained mediators and most are masters level professionals.

    ·      Free of charge. No fees are charged for Parenting Coordination regardless of the number of meetings.

    ·      Ideally, Parenting Coordination is attempted before starting other services. Parenting Coordination may eliminate the need for court services or a custody evaluation. If we receive orders for other services, Parenting Coordiantion will be attempted first unless otherwise ordered.

    ·      Parenting Coordiantion helps parents develop a parenting plan - The Parenting Coordinator will help both parents learn to communicate about their children’s needs and schedules and help them develop a parenting plan that takes into consideration the children’s school and extracurricular activities, both parents’ work schedules, health needs and any other special issues that need to be considered.

    ·      Parenting Coordination can help, even if you have lost hope in getting along with the other parent.

    ·      The Parenting Coordinator may make recommendations for parenting education, mediation, counseling or other options - The Parenting Coordinator may make recommendations that are designed to help parents move toward a workable parenting plan.  Parents are requested to follow through on recommendations made by the Parenting Coordinator in order to further the chances of success.

    ·      All sessions are confidential - Please note that the Parenting Coordinator may not be called as a witness in any deposition, hearing or trial, because communications in the sessions and with the Parenting Coordinator are confidential.

    ·      If a dispute arises about agreements, please come back – Parents are able to contact the Parenting Coordinator if a dispute arises regarding any agreements that the parents cannot work out on their own, even after the case is finalized.  We recommend that attorneys and parents make contact with the Parenting Coordinator prior to filing any motions to modify or motions for contempt regarding the children (except for child support issues) to discuss additional meeting(s).

    ·      The parents control issues regarding their children - Parenting Coordination gives parents the opportunity to resolve their own issues (with the advice of their attorney) as parents and to customize parenting plans according to their own family’s needs.

    ·       Parenting Coordination reduces conflict between parents which damages their children – It is a proven fact that children who are exposed to high levels of parental conflict are adversely affected.  Litigation adds hostility to a family situation that is already traumatic and stressful for children. Parents who resolve their own issues are less likely to involve their children in damaging litigation.

    ·      Parenting Coordination reduces the financial cost of litigation - Parents who resolve their own child issues will likely reduce the financial burden of litigation.