Helping Divorcing Parents Make Collaborative Decisions for Children

Drawing on more than 30 years of experience in law, counseling, mediation, couples and family work, HonnolDCounseling provides parent coordination services to parents in high-conflict divorces who have difficulty making collaborative decisions in the best interests of their children.

Click here for “Professional Background for Parent Coordination Services.”

Children Suffer the Most

In divorce, everyone suffers.  Children suffer the most.  The worst trauma to kids can occur in high-conflict divorce, where joint custodial parents struggle with each other (and with the children) both before and after the divorce.

Following the parents’ divorce, a child’s sense of resolution and “comfort” in a new life can be significantly impaired if the parents are unable to set aside their grievances and resentments to make custodial decisions in the best interests of the child.

Parent Coordination Can Help

Parent Coordinators provide a mediation and arbitration service for high-conflict couples after divorce.  By order of a family court, or by agreement of the divorcing parents, a Parent Coordinator:

  • Meets with the parents, and with the children, to help parents make decisions collaboratively, in the best interests of the children;
  • May exercise “tie-break authority,” granted either by the court or by agreement of the parents, to make custodial decisions for the parents on behalf of the children, where agreement is otherwise impossible;
  • Serves in multiple capacities, as a:
  • supportive counselor to the parents and children,
  • practical problem-solver,
  • child advocate, and
  • family systems facilitator.

A parent coordinator can help parents in a high-conflict divorce to:

  • improve communication between them, and with the children;
  • decrease tensions;
  • keep the interests of children first in mind;
  • make available to children the resources and third party supports they need;
  • involve the children in expressing their opinions and preferences, finding their “voice,” and helping to make decisions, where appropriate;
  • coordinate decisionmaking with third parties, such as teachers, coaches and therapists;
  • reach closure on issues, both large and small, that are central to a child’s daily life and personal development;
  • avoid further resort to costly, divisive litigation; and
  • move toward a post-divorce, bi-nuclear family life that is calm, safe and mutually respectful.
“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”