What is a Parenting Consultant (PC)?
Co-parenting children after the marriage dissolution can be a daunting challenge, but help is available. A Parenting Consultant’s role may include educating parents regarding child development issues, facilitating communication between parties, assisting in the creation of mediated agreements, or making recommendations and decisions when necessary. When parents are unable or unwilling to effectively co-parent or make needed decisions, a Parenting Consultant provides a valuable resource.
Sometimes, parents in separate households need assistance in learning to co-parent and communicate with each other on behalf of their child(ren). Both parents and children benefit from having ongoing decision-making assistance and authority provided by a neutral, third party. The goal of a Parenting Consultant is to support individuals and families going through (or following) divorce in a manner that productively resolves issues and provides the means to move forward.
What does the Parenting Consulting process include?
We believe that parents are in the best position to make decisions about their children. This means that while the Parenting Consultant provides expert opinion or advice, he/she focuses on assisting the parents themselves to resolve disputes. When parents are unable or unwilling to agree, the Parenting Consultant will make recommendations regarding solutions that would benefit the children. When parents are simply unable or unwilling to make joint decisions and they may jointly elect to have decisions made by a Parenting Consultant.
Initially, the Parenting Consultant will meet with both parents to gather background information, review agreements and court orders, and set an agenda of items to be addressed. If appropriate or necessary, a meeting with an individual parent, the children, a teacher, or therapist, etc. may also be arranged. This allows the parenting consultant to fully understand the family’s needs as we address plans for parenting.
A parenting consultant is part mediator and part arbitrator. They listen to parents, facilitate discussion, and attempt to guide the parties to a mutually agreed upon decision. But when parties cannot make a decision, the parties and the court have given the parenting consultant authority to make decisions in the best in interest of the child(ren).
Common Issues that Parenting Consultants Resolve.
A Parenting Consultant can assist parents resolve most disputed issues they both agree would be helpful: Common subjects include:
- parenting time schedules
- transportation pick-up and drop-off (transitions)
- communication between parents and parent-child
- discipline and parenting style
- participation in and payment for extra-curricular activities
- school choices and education considerations
- decisions surrounding medical or mental health care
Who gives the Parenting Consultant authority?
The Parenting Consultant is agreed upon by both parents, pre or post decree, and is then appointed by a judge. Many parties who agree to employ a parenting consultant appreciate the ability to utilize someone with decision-making power in order to avoid ongoing legal fees and court dates. Most agree that the decision of the consultant is binding and may only be modified with an appeal to the court within 14 days from the decision. It is important to note that a parenting consultant cannot make decisions for the parents or to resolve any disputes unless otherwise empowered to do so by a court order.
Parenting Consulting is not confidential; the Consultant is able to speak to attorneys or the court. This way, decisions and resolutions are clear and open to both parties. Parties typically split the cost of the consultant.