PARENTING COORDINATION FOR POST-DIVORCE GROWTH
Association of Family & Conciliation Courts, Parenting Coordination Definition:
Parenting coordination is a child-focused alternative dispute resolution process in which a mental health or legal professional with mediation training and experience assists high conflict parents to implement their parenting plan by facilitating the resolution of their disputes in a timely manner, educating parents about children’s needs, and with prior approval of the parties and/or the court, making decisions within the scope of the court order or appointment contract.
The overall objective of parenting coordination is to assist high conflict parents to implement their parenting plan, to monitor compliance with the details of the plan, to resolve conflicts regarding their children and the parenting plan in a timely manner, and to protect and sustain safe, healthy and meaningful parent-child relationships. Parenting coordination is a quasi-legal, mental health, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process that combines assessment, education, case management, conflict management and sometimes decision-making functions.
BENEFITS FOR BOTH PARENTS AND CHILDREN
Parenting Coordination benefits divorcing or divorced parents by:
• Assisting parents to shift their role from former spouses to co-parents;
• Educating parents regarding the impact of parental conflict, negativity about the other parent and/or inconsistency of parenting time/visitation and on their child(ren)'s development;
• Helping parents identify their contribution to conflict while increasing impulse control;
• Teaching parents anger management, communication and conflict resolution skills;
• Teaching parents the impact of divorce on the child(ren) at different developmental stages, the typical developmental needs at different ages, and the child(ren)'s perspective in different family situations;
• Helping parents learn to consider the other point of view in negotiations with the other parent and the child(ren);
• Ensuring execution of the residence and living arrangements specified in the divorce decree or temporary orders;
• Monitoring visitation and modifying time-sharing arrangements as a means of reducing parental conflict; and
• Working with parents in implementing a detailed cooperative parenting plan for issues such as living arrangements, discipline, holidays and communication.
Parenting Coordination benefits children by:
• Reducing the child's symptoms of stress as parental conflict decreases;
• Facilitating stable family interaction patterns that in turn, support development of secure attachment interactions and the progressive integration of all lines of development;
• Diminishing the child's sense of loyalty binds;
• Creating a more relaxed home atmosphere allowing the child to adjust more effectively;
• Teaching effective communication and conflict resolution skills as modeled by their parents;
• Increasing the likelihood of keeping two active and involved parents in the child's life;
• Ensuring the child's safety and consistency of care through open and consistent parental communication;
• Enhancing the child's confidence and self-esteem by creating an optimal environment for growth;
• Diminishing the likelihood of future relationship difficulties and divorce in the child's future; and
• Reducing the possibility of adolescent drug and alcohol problems, teenage pregnancy, school dropout rates and crime associated with children of divorce.
Feel free to contact Dr. Lisa Gallagher if you have any questions regarding the service or process.
For additional information: http://www.afccnet.org/pdfs/AFCCGuidelinesforParentingcoordinationnew.pdf