Co-Parenting & Divorce

Co-Parenting & Divorce

  • Parenting Facilitation Services: Overview

    Whether acting as a Parenting Coordinator or Parenting Facilitator, the goal of the process is to help parents build a healthy, business-like relationship with each other so that their children are no longer subject to the negative effects of parental conflict. The specific needs of the children in question are discussed, rather than generic child development theory. In order to facilitate this process and understand what is happening with the children the Parenting Coordinator or Parenting Facilitator may meet with parents (both jointly and individually), meet with the children (with or without the parents), make home visits, review reports and written information, and consult with others involved with the family.

    For parents who continue to experience anger, distrust, or other difficulties in communicating about and cooperating in the care of their children a Parenting Coordinator or Parenting Facilitator may help minimize the children's exposure to harmful parental conflict. Research has indicated that post-divorce parental conflict is the strongest predictor of maladjustment of children. Parental conflict impairs the parent-child relationship and models poor adult coping mechanisms for children. Certainly no loving parent wants these kind of negative outcomes for their children, however many parents become "stuck" repeating the conflict and dysfunction that led to the end of their romantic relationship. This hybrid role combines training from social sciences, child development, mediation, parent education, family law, family systems, and many other fields to address and resolve parental conflict. To inquire about Parenting Facilitation services please contact Monika Logan at (972) 895-2502. Please have your attorney contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. prior to naming Ms. Logan in an order to insure that she is available.  To obtain as sample court order, please click here.

    Parenting Coordination vs. Parenting Facilitation

    Parenting Coordination is confidential and a Parenting Coordinator does not make binding decisions nor do they testify in court. While a Parenting Coordinator is not functioning as your counselor, Parenting Coordinators must adhere to a set of ethical standards for Mediators. The guidelines for Parenting Facilitation is not confidential. A Parenting facilitator has the same function as a Parenting Coordinator; however a Parenting Facilitator may aid in monitoring compliance with court orders as well as testifying in court to provide expert opinions as needed. 

    Parenting Facilitation and Confidentiality

    A person who participates in parenting facilitation is not a patient as defined by Section 611.001, Health and Safety Code, and no record created as part of the parenting facilitation that arises from the parenting facilitator's duties is confidential.

    In Texas, a Parenting Facilitator, along with holding a master's degree, must meet the following qualifications: 
    • Eight hours of family violence dynamics training provided by a family violence service provider.
    • 40 Classroom hours of training in dispute resolution techniques in a course conducted by an alternative dispute resolution system or other dispute resolution organization approved by the court.
    • 24 Classroom hours of training in the field of family dynamics, child development, and family law.
    • 16 Hours of training in the laws governing parenting coordination and parenting facilitation and the multiple styles and procedures used in different models of service.  

    Parenting Coordination

    Separation or divorce from a partner can be stressful, time-consuming, and costly. If you are going through a divorce or on-going litigation, a parenting coordinator can benefit you, your co-parent, and your children in many ways.
     
    A Parenting Coordinator does not function as a counselor, an advocate, or an attorney. A Parenting Coordinator also cannot later on, serve as your counselor, your child’s counselor, or your co-parent’s counselor. A parenting coordinator cannot modify any order, judgment, or decree. Although parenting coordination is confidential in Texas, a parenting coordinator may communicate with the court; however, the communication is regarding if parenting coordination is progressing and succeeding. Parenting Coordinators help you and your children in the following:
     
    It is psychoeducational in nature, which helps to create an amicable two-parent households so that conflict can be minimized and children can thrive. The goals of Parenting Coordination include, but are not limited to:
    • Identifying disputed issues and to reduce misunderstandings.
    • Decreases high-conflict interactions.
    • Reduces parental conflict through anger management, communication and conflict resolution skills.
    • Encourages both parties to maintain an ongoing relationships with their child(ren).
    • Clarify priorities.
    • Decreases child alienation.
  • The Rules for Co-Parenting are:

    1. Do not talk negatively, or allow others to talk negatively, about the other parent, their family and friends, or their home in hearing range of the child. This would include belittling remarks, ridicules, or bringing up allegations that are valid or invalid about adult issues.

    2. Do not question the children about the other parent or the activities of the other parent regarding their personal lives. In specific terms, do not use the child to spy on the other parent.

    3. Do not argue or have heated conversations when the children are present or during exchanges.

    4. Do not make promises to the children to try and win them over at the expense of the other parent.

    5. Do communicate with the other parent and make similar rules in reference to discipline, routines, sleeping arrangements, and schedules. Appropriate discipline should be exercised by mutually agreed upon adults.

    6. At all times, the decisions made by the parents will be for the child’s psychological, spiritual, and physical well being and safety.

    7. Parenting time arrangements will be made and confirmed beforehand between the parents without involving the child.

    8. Do notify each other in a timely manner of need to deviate from the order including canceling time with the child, rescheduling, and promptness.

    9. Do not schedule activities for the child during the other parent’s time with the child without the other parent’s consent. However, both parents will work together to allow the child to be involved in extracurricular activities.

    10. Do keep the other parent informed of any scholastic, medical, psychiatric, or extracurricular activities or appointments of the child.

    11. Do keep the other parent informed at all times of your address and telephone number. If you are out of town with the child, do provide the other parent the address and phone number where the children may be reached in case of an emergency

    12. Do refer to the other parent as the child’s “mother” or “father” in conversation, rather than using the parent’s first name, last name, or “my ex.”

    13. Do not bring the child into adult issues and conversations about custody, the court, or about the other party.

    14. Do not ask the child where he or she wants to live.

    15. Do not attempt to alienate the other parent from the child’s life.

    16. Do not allow stepparents or others to negatively alter or modify your relationship with the other parent.

    17. Do not use phrases that draw the children into your issues or make the children feel guilty about the time spent with the other parent. Do not say “I miss you!” Do say, “I love you!”

    Copyright 2012 © Between Two Homes® LLC. | Source: Children in the Middle
  • The Other Parent:  Perspectives, Potential, and Possibilities

    Our belief system guides our behavior, and our beliefs have an immense effect on what we select in our situation to focus on when co-parenting.  Consequently, when parents are going through a separation and/or divorce parents are inclined to believe the worst about the other parent.  Stated succinctly, they see the other parent in a negative light and amplify the other parent’s flaws.
    Each parent will potentially need to correct the way he/she views the other parent in an effort to correct thinking errors.  For starters, parents need to curtail making assumptions and cease the inclination to embrace negative conclusions.  Learning to recognize thinking error(s) prior to interacting with a co-parent often improves co-parenting relationships.
    For example, your co-parent is late in picking up the children.  It is understandably easy to stroll down a not-so-happy memory lane because he/she was historically late to events when you were a couple.  Subsequently your thoughts migrate towards a negative path and you surmise that he/she will never change.  However, the issue is that once your co-parent arrives you are frustrated and maybe even angry, as a result of these thoughts.  Chances are an argument is likely to ensue because of thinking errors and uncontrolled emotions.  Perhaps it is time for a new perspective.

    You, like others in similar situations, may be thinking and ultimately assert, there was not a traffic jam and/or no flat tire.  Even if your co-parent was and remains perpetually late, and it appears he/she will not change, how does thinking of him/her in negative terms help your own thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviors?  It does not.

    Certainly we want the other parent to respect our time.  But what about the thinking errors that have serious repercussions.  What is your first thought when your child informs you, “Mommy/Daddy touched me down there?”  Do you automatically assume your child has been sexually abused?  Remember, our belief systems guides our behavior and our beliefs have a big effect on what we select to focus on when co-parenting.  Could there be other possibilities aside from sexual abuse?  Yes.

    It certainly could be argued that it is worse to miss a case of sexual abuse than to misidentify one however, both mistakes can have dire consequences.  If a young child is misidentified as having been sexually abused and a parent is mistakenly determined to be the perpetrator, not only may that parent suffer consequences but we may also make things worse for all involved by assuming the worst about our co-parent.  Also to complicate matters, parents may begin to further question the child as opposed to seeking appropriate help from specialized and trained professionals. 

    Let us assume that a genuinely concerned parent noticed circumstances that indicated that abuse or neglect may have occurred and made a report in good faith.  In turn, now the other parent is hostile and views the report as deliberate, if not malicious.  They believe the other parent made the allegation with ill intent against him/her, rather than an honest mistake that originated, not out of malice but sincere concern.  So, is this a false allegation?  Is it a lie?  Perhaps a mistaken belief?  What we do know is this situation is problematic and can stem from poor perspective taking.

    Below are some definitions that Ms. Logan may work with parents on:

    • Denial: A statement saying that something is not true or real.
    • False Allegations:  False allegations sometimes are due to mistaken beliefs.
    • Allegation:  A statement saying that someone has done something wrong or illegal.
    • Thinking Errors:  Occurs with your self-talk . Be aware that the way you are thinking about something doesn’t necessarily match up with the reality of what’s going on.
    • Belief: A state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing.
    • Assumption: A taking to or upon oneself.
    • Bias: Tendency to believe that some people, ideas, etc., are better than others that usually results in treating some people unfairly.
    • Confirmation Bias: The tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions.
    • Lie: To make an untrue statement with intent to deceive.
    • Mistake: To make a wrong judgment about something.
    • Mistaken Beliefs: Beliefs are not lies made up by vindictive people (It is a mistake).
    • Addressing Reactance: The urge to do the opposite of what someone wants you to do out of a need to resist a perceived attempt to constrain your freedom of choice.
    • Bandwagon effect: The tendency to do (or believe) things because many other people do (or believe) the same.
    • Emotional Reasoning: “I feel it, therefore it must be true.”

    Working with Co-parents to Decrease Conflict

    Perspective taking and addressing thinking errors is a vital part of working with parents.  Sometimes, decreasing conflict can help parents become child-focused and it can be achieved through family counseling.  In other cases, parents often believe the worst about the other parent, hold on to anger, communicate poorly, and do not cooperate, necessitating parenting facilitation services.

    Parents in Conflict Must Learn      

    • Empathy.                                                                     
    • Managing emotions.
    • Boundaries.
    • To maintain a business relationship.
    • Recognize thinking errors.
    • Recognize triggers.
    • Acting vs. Reacting.
    • To Listen.

    Ms. Logan Helps Parents with three Ps

    1. Gain a New Perspective.
    2. Uncover Cooperative Potential.
    3. Realizing change is Possible.

     

    For more information, please contact Ms. Logan at (972) 895-2502.

     

     Perspectives

     

  • Custody Evaluations

    What is a Child custody evaluation? A child custody evaluation is not counseling, parenting coordination, marriage counseling or any other counseling or non-counseling role. Specifically, "Child custody evaluation is a process through which recommendations for the custody of, parenting of, and access to children can be made to the court in those cases in which the parents are unable to work out their own parenting plans."  Monika Logan conducts Child Custody Evaluations with Forensic Counseling Services .Please have your attorney contact Forensic Counseling Services prior to naming Ms. Logan in an order to insure that she is available.

    General Overview

    When conducting a custody evaluation the goal is to assess the ways in which each parent contributes to the physical, emotional and social development of the children in question. The role of any professional conducting a child custody evaluation involves neutrality and transparency. Evaluators should always strive to serve impartially, never as an advocate for one parent or the other. In the end the goal is to make recommendations to the court as to how both parents can best meet the needs and interests of the children involved

    Child custody evaluations are done by court appointment only.  This generally means that both of the parties and/or attorneys agree to the appointment before submitting an order to the court (and then sending the order to Forensic Counseling).

    Information on this page has been adapted by Dr. Aaron Robb, Director of Forensic Counseling Services.