Getting Help When Co-Parenting After Divorce Isn’t Working

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As a good parent, you want to do what’s best for your child, which includes cooperating with your ex-spouse on co-parenting. You’ve read advice and tips on co-parenting after divorce but it’s still not working. Despite your best efforts and good faith attempts to negotiate, you just can’t settle some of your disputes with your ex. However, you don’t want to spend time and money on litigation. What are your options? Where can you get help resolving your dispute out of court?

Parenting Coordinator

Parents can turn to a parenting coordinator (PC) if they cannot settle disputes on their own. A PC is a professional who is retained by the parties or appointed by a judge in certain instances, to help parents resolve conflicts out of court. Generally, a PC is a licensed mental health professional or licensed attorney with experience in an area relating to families or a certified family mediator with a master’s degree in the mental health field. The benefit of using a PC is that parents get quasi-legal and mental health guidance. The PC’s role is to evaluate the needs of the children and teach parents how to communicate and find common ground. PCs also monitor compliance with parenting agreements. If parents agree, a PC can also render a decision about how to settle the conflict. Otherwise, the PC doesn’t have decision-making authority.

Educational Professionals

A common area of conflict among parents is education. For instance, one parent may want a child to be tested for learning disabilities or receive certain educational services, while the other one disagrees. Disputes can also arise over the choice of school (public vs private school), or academic and extracurricular activities. In these types of arguments, it is helpful to consult professionals who are well-versed in the educational issues as well as know your child personally, such as teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, school nurses, occupational and speech therapists and others. They are likely to be familiar with your child’s needs, interests, temperament and other factors. Such professionals can act as knowledgeable and neutral advisors to help you make decisions that focus on what is the best action to take from your child’s perspective.

Medical Professionals

When disputes occur over medical care, such as vaccinations, medical treatment and choice of doctor/hospital, parents should get the advice of neutral experts. Regardless of each parent’s personal views, it is critical to discuss the issues with healthcare providers who know your children and are familiar with their medical history. 

Mental Health Professional

While PCs typically have a mental health background, individual counseling for parents and/or children from a therapist may be beneficial. Such a professional can provide insight into your children’s feelings and what is best for them as well as help you and your ex address lingering negative emotions that are making it harder for you to effectively deal with each other.

If co-parenting after divorce is not working for your family, before you go to court, consider turning to some of these experts for advice. You should also consult an attorney for guidance. Our firm has extensive experience with resolving child custody and parenting time issues. Contact us to discuss how we can help you resolve your conflict most effectively.

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