It is a proven fact that children who are exposed to high levels of parental conflict suffer. However, children can get through this hard time while they are in the court system if their parents are respectful to each other.
Being in a lawsuit adds hostility to a family situation that is already 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 a Parenting Coordinator meets with parents in a safe, confidential environment in order to reduce conflict and help parents communicate more effectively with each other.
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.
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.
PARENTING COORDINATION OFFERS:
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.
MEETINGS with a Family Court Services Parenting Coordinator in effort to resolve communication issues and improve co-parenting.
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.
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 Coordination 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. However, if we receive orders for other services, those will continue while you work with a Parenting Coordinator .
· Parenting Coordination 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 follow 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.
· 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 in the future, please come back – Parents are able to contact the Parenting Coordinator if a dispute arises regarding any orders regarding the children, 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 and will likely reduce the financial burden of litigation.