The dissolution of a marriage is never easy, even when amicable. When things are contentious and there are children involved, a tender situation can turn into a turbulent maelstrom of raw emotions, name calling, and conflict. You may be concerned about your ex’s parenting abilities, stressed about child support or financial issues, exhausted by conflict, or worried that you will never be able to get past all those relationship resentments that led to the divorce. But for joint custody to benefit your offspring, it is vital for you to overcome these challenges and develop a civil working relationship with your ex to provide your children with the stability, security, and the close relationship children need with both parents.
Barring serious issues such as domestic violence or substance abuse, having both parents actively involved in their children’s daily lives, or co-parenting, is preferable. This will allow the children to maintain contact and a close relationship with both parents just as they had prior to the divorce. Putting aside relationship issues and hurt feelings that often accompany an acrimonious split can be extremely difficult. Research suggests that the perception of a cordial relationship between co-parents can have a profound effect on the overall mental and emotional well-being of children. It can also lead to lower levels of depression and anxiety among children.
One of the things parents often lose sight of is that they are divorcing from a marriage, but not a family. "You're a parent first and a divorced parent second, so don't let the divorce play a significant role in your decision-making," says Montreal divorced dad Phil Clavel, the author of Dad Alone (Vehicule Press, 2003), a guide for divorced fathers. "Make decisions as a mom or dad, not as a divorced mom or dad." No matter how angry or upset you may still be about the divorce, be careful what you say when small ears may be listening. You don't want to give your children the mistaken impression that they were to blame for the breakup.
Remember that a child is a connection that you will always have, through years of graduations, birthdays, holidays, and family milestones. If you want to your children to experience those events with a sense of security and wellbeing, you will make every effort to maintain a good working relationship with your co-parent. If you want to be a part of all those special moments, you will do your best to put aside any negative comments or expressions about your ex when around your mutual offspring. Children are smarter than you think, and they want to be allowed to love and accept both their parents. By using only positive or at the very least neutral language about their other parent, you are effectively giving your child permission to behave naturally around both parents.
Hostility makes co-parents work against each other, rather than as a team towards the same goal of creating happy, healthy, well-adjusted little humans. Sometimes these adversaries use their children as messengers or they withhold financial support or visitation to punish the other parent. Rather than being a parent who focuses on acting for the kids' sake, it is really a way of excusing yourself from your co-parenting responsibilities. And if you consider yourself as a team of one, the loser isn’t your ex. It is your child.
Consider carefully what you hope to gain with every communication. If you are rude or accusatory of your ex while speaking with your children, you may cause them to be confused, or resentful or uncomfortable to be around you. If they take your accusations to heart, your actions may cause your kids to also be uncomfortable around your ex. Now your child has no one they feel safe around.
Remember that your children's welfare must always be your priority. Contemplate the long-term effects on your children of everything you and your ex say and do. This simple consideration can lead to a co-parenting agreement that is acceptable to both of you while fostering a healthy and safe environment for your kids.
Joint custody arrangements can be draining, maddening, and anxiety inducing. It can seem impossible to surmount all the pain and bitterness your shared history brings up. Making shared decisions, interacting with each another at drop-offs, or just speaking to someone you’d rather forget about can seem like an irresolvable task. Despite the challenges the benefits of creating an amicable working relationship is well worth it when you see how happy your children are.
Finally arriving at the decision to end a marriage is probably the biggest and hardest decision you have had to make, aside from deciding to become a parent. Now that the choice has been made, both parties need to agree on HOW to proceed.
The process with which you choose to dissolve your legal marriage can be a rough one but knowing your options can make it a whole lot easier. While it is always true that to be fore-warned is to be fore-armed, it most certainly is when contemplating a legal proceeding that has the potential to be emotional. Choosing to stay out of court proceedings is often the way clients choose to proceed when they want to keep resolution from becoming overly adversarial.
Depending on your resources, both financial and emotional, you might want to chose between Mediation and Collaborative Law. In order to do that, you must learn the very real difference between the two.
Divorce mediation is a cooperative divorce method (alternative dispute resolution process whereby a neutral third-party (the Mediator) will help and guide a couple through resolving the issues and financial matters of divorce.
Mediators are not mandated but can be licensed attorneys depending on the firm. At no time during mediation are attorneys required, unless either or both parties choose to involve them. That makes mediating a good option for those who prefer to divorce without attorneys. However, many mediators require parties to have consulting attorneys to help ensure that both parties are aware of the rights and responsibilities in order to reach a fair resolution.
A Mediator’s primary functions include: helping both parties sort through relevant subjects to be addressed in your divorce so that informed decisions can be made by each; act as neutral peacemaker on any areas of disagreement and bring customized resolutions pertaining to the unique needs of your children pertaining to your parenting plan and timesharing, child support, alimony (spousal support/maintenance/spousal maintenance), division of marital property, etc.; and draft much of the required paperwork including a Memorandum of Understanding which outlines the tenants of your agreement.
Many couples also choose mediation because it can be informal and flexible, with all parties working towards the same goal, and the mediator having no actual power to decide the case. Instead, the Mediator functions as more of an advisor, so in the end, the divorcing spouses are left with the ultimate decision. Mediation can also take less time and potentially cost much less compared to litigation.
Collaborative divorce (also known as collaborative law process) is a hybrid between a "traditional" divorce using attorneys and divorce mediation.
The biggest difference between this process and mediation is that each party hires his and her own licensed attorney and that professional’s primary role is to see after the concerns of the client who hired him. Just like in traditional divorce situations, a lawyer’s job is to get the most favorable outcome for their one client. What makes a collaborative divorce different from those traditional proceedings is a contract know as the “Participation Agreement”, a document signed by all involved attorneys stating commitment to using cooperative rather than combative tactics to negotiate the various divorce issued. After this, a series of meetings take place between both spouses’ respective attorneys, and any other outside professionals required (such as financial professionals, child specialists, mental health professionals and mediators to negotiate and try to come to agreement on the subjects.
The collaborative process can take a long time and can get quite expensive, especially if those professionals are called in on multiple occasions. Ultimately, if an agreement cannot successfully be reached using the collaborative process, the two divorce attorneys will be disqualified from representing the parties (spouses) and the couple will have to continue through the family law proceedings by starting completely over, including with new attorneys.
But choosing between Mediation and Collaborative Divorce ultimately comes down to what the parties feel comfortable with. Mediation is reliant upon one person to ensure that the spouses who have chosen to separate, for whatever reason, cooperate, listen to each other and strive to reach a resolution beneficial to all. This may be impossible if the reasons behind the divorce are particularly acrimonious. If this is the case, husband and wife might feel more comfortable having a licensed professional doing most of the heavy lifting on the party’s behalf. Both options, if successful, keep you out of the family court system, and both can be effective in making a divorce less complicated.
According to every major media outlet in existence today, Valentine’s Day is the day to celebrate love and happiness for couples everywhere…which means, those who have UN-coupled, whether by divorce or legal separation, may be left feeling a bit lonely and adrift.
However, depending upon how you choose to approach the holiday, you can use February 14th as an opportunity to celebrate your new life and a new opportunity to be as happy as you deserve.
The first thing you need to realize is that you are not alone. Without the constant barrage of jewelry commercials and chocolate ads telling you that EVERYONE EVERYWHERE is in love, you must realize that there are millions of people on this earth in the exact same position that you find yourself in. This means you are in good company!
Also, think about all those friends and family members you have lost touch with during your marriage. Reaching out to those loved ones you want to reconnect with provides more than just a balm to your loneliness, but also a chance to build yourself a nice support system going forward as a single person. Going to a party, seeing a movie, or even just meeting for drinks with some friends are all great ways to fill the hours of that day, renew ties with old friends or build them with new ones , and establish yourself in the new social position you now find yourself in.
Maybe you don’t feel like being social, which is totally understandable. You are still healing and need time to lick your wounds. Never underestimate the value of self-care. Man or woman, we can all stand to spend some time focused on the needs of the body, the mind, and the spirit. Candles, bubble baths, a good book or even a tub of cookie dough ice cream can go a long way towards a feeling of comfort. Send yourself a little something that you have been wanting…like that crockpot you didn’t get for Christmas or that autographed Game of Thrones figurine!
And if you have children, it can become the MOST fun to make them feel loved. Making homemade Valentines with construction paper never loses it’s magic when assisted by copious amounts of glitter and metallic markers! A couple of hours making cut out cookies with sprinkles is an easy way to make memories to remind you that there is more that one kind of love to be celebrated on Valentine’s Day!
At the end of the day, try to come to an understanding of what February 14th actually means to you. Do you want to include others in your plans or would you rather focus on self reflection? Whatever you choose, do things you love and treat yourself as you deserve to be treated. With love.
If it seems that more couples announce divorce proceedings after the winter and summer holidays, a new study seems to bear that out. Associate sociology professor Julie Brines and doctoral candidate Brian Serafini, presenting research at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Seattle, found what is believed to be the first quantitative evidence of a seasonal, biannual pattern of filings for divorce. This is based on analyzed filings in Washington state between 2001 and 2015.
There seem to be multiple reasons for these patterns, the first and foremost being the preservation of the “cultural sacredness” of holidays when it comes to families. During this time, it is generally frowned upon by friends and outsiders to ruin this special family time by breaking up said family. Nobody with an ounce of sensitivity wants to be thought of as a monster by their loved ones. And struggling couples may see the holidays as an opportunity to mend relationships and start fresh. The idea being, we’ll have a happy Christmas together as a family or take the kids for a nice vacation and things will be better.
These heightened expectations can backfire when met with disappointing results. You are spending a concentrated amount of time with the partner that you are unhappy with, hoping against hope that things will be different, for a new beginning or at least something different. But holidays are emotionally charged and stressful for most couples and, for those struggling with marital problems, can expose fissures in a marriage. This consistent pattern in filings, the researchers believe, reflects the disillusionment unhappy spouses feel when the holidays fail to meet those expectations.
This also allows both parties to say that they gave it one last try before throwing in the towel. With the new year, resolutions for a new beginning lead spouses to get their lives in order-including health and finances. Consulting an attorney at this point becomes another step towards that end. Similarly, the onset of warmer, longer days and increased activity elevates mood enough to motivate people towards change. Brines wonders if similar forces are at play with divorce filings.
The pattern persisted even after accounting for other seasonal factors such as unemployment and the housing market. The researchers reasoned that if the pattern was tied to family holidays, other court actions involving families — such as guardianship rulings — should show a similar pattern, while claims less related to family structure wouldn’t. And they found exactly that: The timing of guardianship filings resembled that of divorce filings, but property claims, for example, did not.
It’s therefore reasonable to conclude that when the holidays fail to reinvigorate that happy family feeling, people may finally make those difficult decisions regarding the future of the family unit.
If nothing else, what Brines and Serafini have shown us with their collective data, is that summer vacations, tax time and the whole "New Year, New Me" trope are quantifiable calendar indicators that may affect when people entertain the notion of the legal dissolution of marriage. In addition to demonstrating which times of year are most convenient for such serious, life changing resolutions, they also reveal theoretical breaking points that lead to these conclusions.
The holidays are a normally stressful time, even if your family hasn’t just gone through a painful separation. In addition to all the typical stressors of the season, divorced parents are faced with a whole new set of complications and challenges: figuring out plans, blending traditions and deciding where festivities will be held.
It is always best to minimize the effects of these changes by first and foremost communicating with your ex and making every attempt to be on the same page. The holidays can lead to heightened conflict between divorced parents, but remember, your kids take their cues from you! If you appear to be stressed, angry, or upset, your kids will pick up on that and act accordingly—which is the last thing you want!
It is easier said than done even if your divorce was amicable. Remember the one thing you will always have in common is that you love your kids and want the best for them. Whether a parent has sole custody or shares decision making, the first set of holidays following the divorce will be the most difficult for all family members. You are still figuring out what works, dealing with the loss of those shared family customs, and scrambling to come up with new traditions. Even though parents may be dealing with their own sense of grief, the holidays are a time when it becomes more important than ever to attempt cordiality. Every commercial, movie, and TV program out during this time reinforces the cultural belief of togetherness and family during the holidays, and children are particularly sensitive to feeling lost or displaced because of drastic changes.
Sit down with your former spouse before the madness begins, away from the listening ears of curious offspring. Hammer out some sort of equality regarding gift giving, so that no one feels like they are “losing” at parenting. Maybe set a spending limit or agree on a joint gift to promote that equilibrium. Remember that if you make parenting a game where someone wins and someone loses, the only person that really loses is the child being bickered over.
So much is changing, and some traditions will have to be scrapped all together. Many people choose to have an open conversation with children about which traditions are most important to them, and how to keep them up under these new circumstances, sometimes without one parent or the other. Maybe one parent does a gift on Christmas Eve and the other does the stockings… Families can also use the new arrangements as an opportunity to bond over establishing new traditions. The goal of the holiday time is to make happy memories for the children’s future.
The plan going forward should establish in detail where everyone is going to be, at what time, and with the needs of the children being the primary focus. Agreements with respect to parental communication, decision-making, accommodating changes, and spending time separately and together is crucial to avoiding crises during what is a special and sacred time for children and parents. Children will thrive when spending time with both parents and extended families, especially during the holidays.
If you were to just look at the numbers, you may say that there is definitely a bias toward the mother. After all, 75% of the time, the kids end up living with Mom. That number can be misleading since there is another number that you should know when it comes to deciding where the kids primarily live: 91%. In 91% of cases, the decision to have the kids live with Mom are decided outside of the court, either through mutual agreement, mediation, or another alternative dispute resolution method such as Parenting Coordination. In most cases where there is a bias accusation, these numbers are not taken into account.
In California, Family Code 3040 is very clear as to the order of preference when it comes to custody and at the top of the list is “To both parents jointly pursuant to Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 3080) or to either parent.”
In deciding about either parent, the code also clearly states that in deciding on which parent should have custody, the court and law look to “which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the noncustodial parent.”
The guiding principle when deciding who the children should be living with is based on the best interests of the child and from the wording of 3040, it is clear that California believes that a child is better off with consistent and continuing contact with both parents.
There are many other things a judge will take in account including:
When it comes to a father seeking custody, there are several things that need to be taken into account, with the biggest thing being time. Historically, in most families, the father works longer hours and earns more of the family income. Unfortunately, this usually means the father has less quality and bonding time with the children. Seeking custody, especially full custody would require much more of a time commitment and either parent would have to make some big decisions about their priorities. As every case is different with their own set of circumstances, you should never start with any assumptions. Call Tracy to discuss your specific case.
Most people think that there is absolutely nothing wrong with their own behavior. If there are problems, they all must be because of your spouse, partner, friend, or family member. The truth is that no one behaves perfectly in every situation all of the time. To quote the Bard, to err is human. Are you able to recognize your own behaviors that may be rubbing people the wrong way? There are several selfish behaviors that can be having a negative effect on your marriage. The hard part is that these behaviors can be happening without you even realizing it.
Listening to your spouse
Whether you are discussing your day or having an argument, most people are not listening to what their spouse is saying. They are already thinking about their response. The big problem here is that if you don’t listen and really hear what your spouse is saying, your response will not be based on anything that they have said. You are missing the main points of what your partner is saying. If you are discussing your day or even something minor, it will seem that you are not listening and are disinterested. If this happens in an argument, it is then nearly impossible to resolved the issue, because you are not hearing what your partner is saying. Communication has to be a 2-way process. A breakdown in communication is the number one issue leading to couples seeking counseling and eventually splitting.
Not being open and honest
If you do not talk to your partner about things that are bothering you, then you have no one to blame when things are not changed. You may be angry about something, but your spouse has absolutely no idea and cannot possibly fix the issue. You may think that your spouse should just know. No one can read someone else’s mind. If something is bothering you, voice your concern. This goes back to communication being 2-way. If you do not tell your partner something, chances are they do not know that a problem even exists.
Taking things personally
People get stressed. There are so many different things in our lives that can cause high levels of stress and anxiety and most people tend to internalize their stress. When people are stressed, they may not be the best version of themselves and people will display selfish behaviors or even be short and come across as angry. If you take these behaviors personally, and respond in kind, then things can get heated very quickly. Try not to take things personally. Once, again, communication is key. Talk to your partner and see what is going in. Instead of people a victim, you could even be the hero.
Consider your own quirks and mannerisms
Everyone has their own quirks, whether is it a movement, a word, or phrase, or a habit that they picked up along the way, like leaving the toilet seat up. People are really good at pointing out the things that others do that annoy them. However, most people are not self-aware enough to realize their own quirks and habits that may be annoying others.
There is no such thing as a relationship that has no issues. People, as relationships, are also not perfect. People get together because there are things that they love about each other. Over time, there may be things they see that they may not love. Communication is a vital component to a successful relationship. Being self-aware is also extremely important. You can’t put everything on your partner.
Getting back into the dating scene after a divorce is a process. You may take some time to learn to be on your own again, or you may just not have the time now being a single parent. Some people don’t wait and jump right back into the game. The problem is that the game has changed pretty significantly over the last few years. If you were married for any length of time and are now dating for the first time in a long time, then things are going to seem really strange.
As with everything else in the world now, dating has gone online. While there had been online dating sites for a long time, it wasn’t something everyone did. Well, welcome to the future of dating. Fire up your cell phone, download one or several of any number of apps, set up your profile and jump right in.
Let’s take a step back. Before you jump in, the rules on dating have changed along with the technology and it is good to have a few guidelines for utilizing technology for getting out there.
Don’t pine for anyone.
Here is the first truth of online dating: the chances of someone you are interested in replying back to you is pretty low. There are a lot of people online and people are possibly getting multiple responses to their ads and profiles. It is unlikely and unnecessary for someone to respond back to everyone who reached out. Don’t sit by the computer trying to analyze what other people are thinking and doing when you have not even talked to them yet. Don’t cause yourself stress and anxiety trying to be a mind reader and absolutely do not read into anything or take anything personally.
Detach yourself from the outcome on first contact
Once you send someone a message or an email, let it go. You may or may not hear back from the person. Online dating is a numbers game. Do not latch on to the first person you see. Send out messages to people who you are interested in, but cast your net wide. The more people you contact the greater your return will be.
Do not invest in anyone too quickly
This applies to anyone regardless of how you meet: do not invest in anyone too soon. Get to know people. It is nearly impossible to get to know someone as you should in only a couple of dates. Don’t cut yourself off from other possibilities too soon. There is no rush here. It takes a while to get to know someone and even longer to trust someone. If you move too quickly you may find yourself in a place you do not want to be and, more importantly, you may miss out on the person you will really want to be with.
People’s social media profiles are their “highlight reels”. If you set your expectation on someone solely on their dating and social media profiles, it is almost guaranteed you are going to disappointed once you meet and get to know the person. Almost nothing is as it first appears. From a person’s looks to their attitude, sense of humor or their seeming never ending vacation of a life they present to the outside world. Do not presume or assume anything about a person. Don’t build someone up in your mind because that will only lead to the person never meeting your expectations and this not fair to you and it is not fair to the other person. Get to know the real person. Take profiles, pictures and descriptions with a grain of salt. Assume too much and you will be disappointed, but if you go in without expectations, you may be pleasantly surprised. Or you may want to run screaming.
Do your research into online dating and the sites you decide to use. These dating sites are a business. They are selling a product. That product is a dream. The dream of successful dating, the dream of getting remarried or dream of a fantasy. Keep your expectations realistic. There is research that shows that about a third of the people on the online dating sites never meet anyone. Be mindful of the world you are entering and keep your feet in the real world. The point of dating is to have fun. Don’t put too much stress on yourself. If the process is not fun, then maybe you are not ready for it.
Life, as time, moves forward regardless of what is going on in our lives. The process of divorce can be a long and drawn out process and in the end, there are a long list of changes and transitions that have to be taken care of. Through it all, the kids continue to have their lives which mostly revolve around school. Back-to-school time can be a very exciting time for kids. They are looking forward to seeing their friends after the summer break. It can also be a very stressful time for kids with not knowing how their new teachers will be or what the work will be like. It can also be a stressful and expensive time for the parent, especially newly divorced parents.
There are a few things you can do to prepare yourself and your kids for getting back to school after a divorce.
Tell the School
It is important to let the school know about this major change in life. Some school systems have programs for kids of divorced families that they may be able to take advantage of. School teachers and counselors are also a great resource for families and kids. They are also very often a great outlet for kids who often feel comfortable talking to teachers and counselors. It is also important for school officials to look out for any related behavioral issues that need to be brought to the attention of the parents. It is possible that kids who are frustrated at home may start to act out in school.
School administrators, teachers and counselors should know some of the details of the divorce, including any custody issues or concerns they have about the kids. In the event that the divorce was contentious and there are ongoing custody issues, the school should know if they are able to release the child to the non-custodial parent.
Create a routine
When there is one parent at home, getting the kids to school and getting them home from school can be extremely difficult when that one parent has to work. Often, morning and afternoon routines vary from day to day based on work schedules and who will be responsible for the kids before and after school. This can create chaos and confusion for everyone involved. The more chaotic things become, the more important it is to have a routine for things. Make a calendar that clearly states what the plan is for each day of the week. This way everyone knows what is going to happen every day and be prepared for it in advance.
It is important to keep an open line of communication with your ex. Both parents may be part of the ballet of getting kids to school and getting them home. There are also things like homework, school functions, sports, after school activities, and parent/teacher meetings that both of you need to be a part of. If there is no proper communication, there will be issues and miscommunication. This can lead to being late for school, a missed pickup, or missing other activities which would cause the children to feel stress and anxiety. Whether you choose to directly communicate or use email or text, make sure the conversation is ongoing. Most importantly, even if you have issues with your ex, unless there are underlying issues of safety related to an ex, there is no reason for the children to be exposed to those issues.
Talk to your kids and listen to them
It is always important to talk to your kids. Even the smallest things can be a major part of their lives. During a major transition like a divorce, it is vital to talk to your kids and listen to what they say. You also have to listen to what they are not saying. They may not know how to communicate what they are feeling and it may come out in different ways, such as acting out or showing signs of stress. Talk to your kids. Also know when you may be over your head and consider the possibility that your kids may need to talk to a therapist. Most importantly, let the kids know they are loved and that they are not the reason for the divorce.
Parents often learn quite a lot about how their children are coping with divorce simply from letting them speak their minds. This will also give divorced parents a better idea for how to mentally, physically and emotionally prepare their children for changes in and out of school.
Over the last 20 years, the area of Family Law has gone through some major changes in the way conflicts between spouses are resolved. Families are taking the cases out of the courts and into their own hands with procedures that are called Alternative Dispute Resolutions. We have discussed Divorce Mediation, which is one of these alternative procedures. A major benefit of mediation is that the couple has more control over the details of the divorce having worked through all of the steps with the guidance of a mediator. Couples that utilize Divorce Mediation have a greater chance of an amicable break since the terms of the divorce were directly negotiated by the couple as opposed to the details being dictated by the courts. Oftentimes, the terms dictated by the courts can lead to animosity and bitter feelings by either spouse who feels the decisions did not go in their favor.
Alternative Dispute Resolution procedures can easily be utilized in cases where there are not high levels of conflict. However, these procedures can, likewise, be utilized in many cases even where there is high levels of conflict and even anger. Of course, there will always be cases where the terms of the divorce will require the backing of a judge and court order, such as cases where abuse is present.
Another alternative procedure is called Parenting Coordination. When it comes to parenting, custody, visitation, and anything related to the children, the level of conflict can become very high. In an effort to remove the burden of making parenting decisions for the family, which may not be in the parents’ or child’s best interest, the parents may agree to use a Parenting Coordinator, which the court will then make a court order. This is a process that is focused on the children. A professionally trained and experienced mental health or legal professional, called a Parenting Coordinator, would work with parents to resolve conflicts with the parenting plan that would be in the best interest of the child and take each of the parents wants and concerns into account. Since the Parenting Coordinator is usually working under a court order with guidelines, they can only make very minor changes to any court orders related to items such as custody or visitation. The Court will still have the final say if the parents cannot resolve the issue themselves or with the input of the Parenting Coordinator.
In some jurisdictions, the main function of the Parenting Coordinator is to create appropriate parenting plans, to build functional, enduring co-parenting relationships; and to resolve ongoing co-parenting disputes. In other jurisdictions, the main function is to help the parents resolve conflicts, enforce the custody orders, or help the parties clarify the implementation of order. Much like mediation, the goal is to take the details of an agreement out of the hands of the courts and give the responsibility to the parents. Even in high-conflict cases, the long-term relationship has less animosity since the terms of the agreement were directly negotiated and agreed upon.
While there is not a lot of data to declare Parenting Coordination a success, there are some numbers that do show its usefulness. Born out of the need to alleviate the pressure on the courts by parents who came back to court multiple times, Parenting Coordination was designed to give the parents a way to resolve their issues even before they come major. In one year prior to the appointment of a Parenting Coordinator in California, 166 cases accounted for 993 court appearances. That is an average of just about 6 trips back to court for each case. Not only does that put pressure on the courts, but each time, the parents had to disrupt their day, miss work, pay the lawyer, find babysitters.. it gets expensive. For these same 166 cases, after the Parenting Coordinators were appointed, there were only 37 court appearances. (1) Another survey found that on average, the level of conflict and stress of dealing with the other parent was decreased and a majority of cases were satisfied with the coordinator and the resulting agreement (2).
As with mediation, Parenting Coordination is not for everyone. It is up to the judge presiding over the case to decide if Parenting Coordination is a good fit.
(1). Johnston, T. Outcome study on special master cases in Santa Clara County, (unpublished study) (1994).
(2). Vick, M. H., and Backerman, R. (1996). Mediation/arbitration: Surveys of professionals and clients, paper presented at the Boulder, Colorado Interdisciplinary Committee on Child Custody
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