Transitions can be uncomfortable ends

followed by hopeful new beginnings

Sheltering In Place During Covid-19

Here are some discussion points for you and your co-parent to have should you need help navigating the conversation.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me to help think through the best ways to tend to yourselves and children during this time, especially if you have a difficult time coming to agreements.

Parenting Questions to consider when living in separate households:

1.     Social Distancing

a.   Having a conversation about safety and what each household needs to feel safe physically and emotionally.

b.   Developing an agreement regarding who each family member can come into contact with and troubleshooting situations when once or more family members is an ‘essential worker’ employed in a vulnerable profession.

2.     If someone is sick or exposed – agreements around self-isolation.

3.    Activities to do with kids?

4.    How to handle a child too afraid to shift home’s/handle anxiety in the family system.

5.    Is it best to shelter in place together for your family?

6.    Who can come to each home?  Does anyone need more help?  Is childcare needed and how to agree on this?

7.    Should timeshare structures shift during this time?

a.   How would you like to do exchanges if a change is needed?

8.     Do you have a child with special needs and how do you attend to those needs?

9.    Emergent medical or dental appointments.

10. Parental stress and when to ask your co-parent for help without feeling shame or guilt.

a.   Neglect, violence, abuse concerns in the home.

b.   Homeschooling stress.

Separation & Divorce

Most divorce mediators and attorneys would agree that the less conflict there is between parents, the better off their children will be. If you are currently going through the process or considering separation, it may be very useful to know what to expect each step of the way and how to process all the varying decisions.

Conflict is inherent in separation and divorce, particularly when there are minor children involved, making co-parenting very difficult. Mediation and co-parent counseling focus on agreements between parents in the best interest of the children. I specialize in co-parent counselling and plans, child specialty work, high-conflict divorce, separations, and divorces. I work closely with lawyers and other mediators to help couples separate in the best way possible.

I focus on helping couples think about the complex issues that separation and divorce create such as grief and anger. I also help each couple explore the choices they have in front of them such as telling their children as well as helping each partner communicate their needs and wants throughout this process, especially as conflict arises.

Though I don’t currently mediate divorces, I am trained as a divorce mediator and coach and understand most of the ins and outs that can be in any one divorce. As mentioned earlier, I specialize in working with attorneys and other mediators to help determine physical custody agreements, especially when younger children are involved. I also specialize in co-parenting plans that fit your family’s needs and keep conflict to a minimum. In some cases, I am called in as a child specialist which helps lawyers and mediators understand your child’s or teenager’s voice throughout this process. This is not therapy as its focus is on the goals and interests of what one’s child or teenager describe, allowing parents to rethink their positions.

Please contact me to discuss your needs and together we can determine what role I might be most helpful in.

Co-Parent Counseling & Plans

baby on swing hold by parentsAs conflict is inherent in any separation and divorce, particularly when there are minor children involved, co-parenting can be difficult. Co-parent counselling focuses on agreements between parents in the best interest of the child/ren. I work hard to see if parents can find agreements themselves and offer practical and creative solutions when it becomes difficult to think together. I work hard to provide recommendations for your family as well as find solutions that work best for your family’s needs.

Some examples of issues addressed are schedules, vacations, transitions between one parent to another, phone calls, limit setting, developmental issues, consistency between homes, substance abuse, school decisions, boundaries around dating, the introduction of new partners, and mental illness concerns.

We all wish for our children to be resilient and true to themselves. Decreasing the conflict between separated, divorced, or divorcing parents is an initial and crucial first step in accomplishing this – which can open up pathways in the renegotiation of family relationships post-separation and divorce.

Parent & Divorce Coaching

mom and daughter with funny masksSometimes I’m called upon from an attorney or the courts to help a parent build a relationship with their child/ren. This can be when a child is being reconciled with a parent after removal from a home or with a parent who is looking to increase physical custody after time has been reduced. I work closely with the team of professionals involved in a family’s life and work thoughtfully to provide the most useful feedback to the parent, lawyer, or parent coordinator.

Parent coaching may or may not include in-home visits or parent/child observations. It may only be that I meet with a parent for a while before introducing a child into the process. Whatever the needs are, I work thoughtfully with a team of professionals, if present, or with a parent seeking help.

Child Specialist

girl with dogI have worked with children for nearly 20 years. I have received special training around development, attachment, trauma, and childhood disorders. I am also well versed in how divorce affects children and teens at varying developmental stages and what can make the most positive impact on a child during and post-divorce. I will work closely with attorneys, mediator, or collaborative team in helping your child’s voice be heard.

When I work in the role of a child specialist, I am a neutral person to both parents. The process includes interviewing your children with the intention of providing them a safe place to talk about their experience of the divorce. By keeping in mind their developmental needs and how children, in general, are affected by divorce, I will suggest to you and the professional members of your team what factors are important to consider as you all move forward to create a parenting plan and custody agreements.

Parent Coordinator

dad, mom and baby shoesIn high-conflict separations or divorces, parenting issues may arise with greater frequencies that continue to bring parents back to court for resolution. This strategy is both untimely and expensive. An alternate strategy to manage such disputes as they arise is through the use of a parent coordinator.

As a Parent Coordinator, formerly known as Special Masters, I would be a neutral person that you can turn to when in dispute on matters relating to your children. By having a parent coordinator, you will find that you can access services of such a person in a timely fashion and costs are usually much less than going to court.

The role of a parent coordinator is to help parents come to a successful resolution between themselves and in the best interest of the child or children. However, the parent coordinator may also be empowered to make binding recommendations and decisions in the event the parents are unable to agree on solutions. If either parent feels there is sufficient reason to challenge the coordinator’s decision, they still have recourse with the courts.

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