harm children. Parents do.
You don't need to marry to work together to
raise a healthy child
and you don't need to divorce to put
your child in the middle of adult conflict.
Family Law Consulting PLLC will work with you
to establish mutual, constructive and
child-centered dispute resolution paths,
keeping the focus on the child and
avoiding the stresses and costs of court
Mature, mutual and child-centered
how most co-parents function and this should
be your goal, regardless of the legal status
of the adult relationship. Healthy parents are
able to put their own needs and emotions aside
to work with their parenting partners to see
that the child's needs are met. The process is
proactive, respectful and constructive.
Healthy co-parents are
characterized by at least four basic skills:
co-parents can communicate together
constructively and respectfully
co-parents can cooperate and compromise so
that decisions are made in a timely manner
co-parents can work together to establish
consistent parenting practices
co-parents keep the kids out of the middle
NOT go to court?
were created to determine guilt, to assign
blame, and to exact punishment. They instill a
victim versus perpetrator mentality. This
works if the question to be answered is a "who
done it?" but fails if the question to be
answered is about a child's future care and
Most courts and the lawyers
and judges who work in them make family law
matters worse before they offer remedies.
Because our courts are overburdened, it can
takes months to be seen before a judge. Some
divorces last many years, consuming the entire
span of a child's childhood.
Litigation can be extremely
expensive. At hundreds of dollars per hour,
lawyers and their assistants will consume a
child's college savings and an adult's
retirement funds and then eat away at assets
before and still not offer any answers.
Worst of all, the court
process can polarize litigants, making
mountains out of molehills. Lawyers bound to
serve as "zealous advocates" will go to
extremes to denigrate one parent so as to win
favor for their client, all to the detriment
of the child.
Courts may be able to settle
family law matters in the long run, but no one
escapes the process without scars, least of
all the children.
Read more here:
T. D. (2009). Going to court as a last
resort: Establishing a duty for
attorneys in divorce proceedings to
discuss alternative dispute resolution
with their clients. Family Court
Review, 47: 586–599.
J. Breger, (2000). Should An Attorney Be
Required to Advise a Client of ADR
Options? 13 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 427,
F. Phillips, (2004). The Obligation of
Attorneys to Inform Clients About ADR
Mediation: A Win-Win Process, 31 W. St.
U. L. Rev. 239, 239–40.
Schepard, (2007). Kramer vs. Kramer
Revisited: A Comment On the Miller
Commission Report and the Obligation of
Divorce Lawyers For Parents to Discuss
Alternative Dispute Resolution With
Their Clients, 27 Pace Law Rev. 682,
Y. (2012). Court-connected ADR- A time
of crisis, a time of change. Family
Court Review, 50: 377–404.
S. H., Adams, V. A. and Wood, B. (2015),
The Interdisciplinary Settlement
Conference: A Grassroots Alternative for
Resolving High-Conflict Parenting
Disputes in Lean Times. Family Court
Review, 53: 632–649.
Shared, joint or exclusive decision-making
is what is sometimes called "legal custody,"
the court-determined authority to make major
decisions in the child's life. Healthy, mature
and child-centered co-parents can share this
responsibility constructively. Angry, bitter
and resentful co-parents often see shared or
joint decision-making authority as another
opportunity to do battle.
When co-parents cannot
communicate, cooperate and establish
consistent parenting practices, joint or
shared decision-making will often result in
stalemate, each parent refusing the other's
requests in a power struggle that can never be
won. There several alternatives:
decision-making authority. The
court can vest one parent with the
authority to make all decisions, often
with the caveat that the other parent's
input must first be solicited and
considered. While this can minimize
co-parent conflict and the child's
associated stresses, it also marginalizes
the parent who has no authority and risks
that parent disengaging entirely.
authority by domain. The court can
vest one parent with exclusive
decision-making authority in a particular
domain of the child's life, for example:
academic or extra-curricular or medical.
This can be useful when co-parents have
intractable differences in only one area
and/or when one parent has expertise in
to an impartial, child-centered
third party, such as a Parenting
Coordinator (and continue below)
What is co-parenting therapy or counseling?
interventions (sometimes referred to
as "co-parenting therapy" or
"co-parenting counseling" is neither
psychotherapy nor counseling. This
service is not about emotions and must
not be confused with couples' therapy
or marital therapy.
Co-parenting intervention is an
decision-making process. It is
conducted like a business meeting,
proceeding one business item at a
time, prompting understanding,
child-centered focus, compromise, and
Co-parenting interventions are
appropriate for moderately conflicted
Coordination (PC) is co-parenting
intervention with teeth. The PC works with
high conflict co-parents to resolve
child-centered decisions within the
parameters of the parenting plan through
education, mediation and arbitration.
Although the details vary by jurisdiction,
the PC is generally vested by the court to
make binding decisions in the child's best
interests when the co-parents cannot unless
and until the court rules to the contrary.
Read more here
- Read the Association
of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC)
- Read the American
Psychological Association PC guidelines
- Read more about PC
and ADR here
Demby, S. (2016).
Parenting coordination: Applying
clinical thinking to the
management and resolution of
post‐divorce conflict. Journal of
J.T. (2015). Out on a
limb: Appointing a parenting
coordinator with decision‐making
authority in the absence of a
statute or rule. Family Court
Review, Vol 53(4), Oct 2015,
(2015). The parenting
coordinator as peacemaker and
peace-builder. Family Court
Review, Vol 53(3), 398-406.
K. (2010). Positive coping among
coordinators: A recipe for
success.Journal of Child Custody:
Research, Issues, and Practices,
Vol 7(1), 61-77.
J. T. (2015), Out on a Limb:
Appointing a Parenting Coordinator
with Decision-Making Authority in
the Absence of a Statute or Rule.
Family Court Review, 53: 578–588.
What is a developmental parenting plan?
A parenting plan that suits your
child's present needs is necessary,
but not sufficient. A parenting plan
must be able to grow with a child's
growing needs and abilities, else
the co-parents will be back in court
to revise the parenting plan with
each new grade and developmental
Consulting PLLC and Dr. Ben Garber
have pioneered the idea of
developmental parenting plans,
helping conflicted co-parents to
establish highly structured plans
that adjust to meet the child's
predictable growth toward autonomy.
What is mediation?
is a structured, impartial process intended to
help conflicted parties find middle ground.
Child-centered mediation factors our knowledge
of child and family development into the
For example: If
Mom thinks that Billy should be in bed at
7:00 p.m. but dad thinks that he should be
in bed at 9:00 p.m., they might mediate to
resolve the difference, finally agreeing on
8:00 p.m. But if Billy is 3 years old, an
understanding about his developmental needs
might prompt a child-centered mediation to
conclude that 7:00 p.m. is best.
Odd; Gulbrandsen, Wenke; Haavind, Hanne
(2015). Mandatory mediation outside the
court: A process and effect study.
Conflict Resolution Quarterly, Vol
33(1), Fal 2015, 19-34
M. and Largent, K. (2013), Association
of Family and Conciliation Court
Guidelines for Child Protection
Mediation. Family Court Review, 51:
R. H., Holtzworth-Munroe, A., Applegate,
A. G. and D'Onofrio, B. (2011). Factors
affecting the outcome of divorce and
paternity mediations. Family Court
Review, 49: 16–33.
A. G. and Beck, C. J.A. (2013),
Self-Represented Parties in Mediation:
Fifty Years Later It Remains the
Elephant in the Room. Family Court
Review, 51: 87–103.
What is Collaborative Law?
Law is a means of settling divorce and
custody-related conflicts with a minimum of
litigation. Parties employ a collaborative
attorney to assist in an open negotiation with
the understanding that the attorneys involved
in the collaborative process and the contents
thereof will not be allowed in litigation,
should any become necessary.
Read more here:
Mosten, F. S. (2011). The future
of collaborative practice: A vision for
2030. Family Court Review, 49: 282–291.
Otis, M. R. (2011). Expanding
collaborative divorce through the social
sciences. Family Court Review, 49(2),
Macfarlane, Julie (2010).
Forrest Mosten's collaborative divorce
handbook: Effectively helping divorcing
families without going to court the past,
present, and future of collaborative law.
Family Court Review, Vol 48(3), 566-570.
Behrman, Lauren (2010). Roles
for psychologists in collaborative divorce
practice. In Walfish, Steven (Ed), Earning
a living outside of managed mental health
care: 50 ways to expand your practice. ,
(pp. 32-35). Washington, DC, US: American
Andrew Schouten, (2007).
Breaking Up Is No Longer Hard to Do: The
Collaborative Family Law Act, 38 Mcgeorge
L. Rev. 125, 134.
Larry R. Spain, (2004).
Collaborative Law: A Critical Reflection
on Whether a Collaborative Orientation Can
Be Ethically Incorporated Into the
Practice of Law, 56 Baylor L. Rev. 141,
Julie (2004). Experiences of Collaborative
Law: Preliminary Results from the
Collaborative Lawyering Research Project.
Journal of Disposion and Resolution, 179,
What is Early Neutral Evaluation?
Neutral Evaluation (ENE) gives litigating
parents the chance to be heard by impartial
family law professionals in brief form soon
after filing for divorce. The professionals
provide an informed opinion regarding the
likely outcome were the case to run the full
course of litigation. In practice, ENE prompts
a large percentage of would-be litigants to
settle and keep the process out of the courts
at tremendous savings of money, time and
Read more here:
Y., Bankovics, G., Baumann, M., Darcy,
N., DeVries, S., Goetz, J., &
Kowalsky, G. (2006). Early Neutral
Evaluations: Applications to Custody and
Parenting Time Cases Program Development
and Implementation in Hennepin County,
Minnesota. Family Court Review, 44(4),
D. B., & Kahn, J. J. (2011).
Settlement‐focused parenting plan
consultations: An evaluative mediation
alternative to child custody
evaluations. Family Court Review, 49(1),
P. (2009). The emergence of triage in
family court services: The beginning of
the end for mandatory mediation? Family
Court Review, 47(3), 371-388.
P., Taylor, N., & Seymour, F.
(2011). Early intervention in New
Zealand family court cases. Family Court
Review, 49(4), 818-830.
J. L. (2004). Early Neutral Evaluation
in Divorce Cases. Family Court Review,