Co-Parenting Facilitation & Parenting Coordination

CO-PARENTING FACILITATION 

Co-Parenting Facilitation can be a viable alternative to litigation as it creates an opportunity for co-parents to resolve issues related to child custody through joint decision-making, rather than having important personal decisions about their children/family decided by a Judge.

I accept Co-Parenting cases which are self-referred (requested by the parents), as a part of a Custody Investigation, or Court ordered.

As a Co-Parenting Facilitator I work with uncoupled parents to develop, strengthen, and transform their co-parenting relationship to re-focus on the best interests of their children, rather than the reasons which led them to separate/divorce.

The process of re-defining the relationship from “couple” to “co-parents” takes time. Children however don’t wait for their parents to heal from separation/divorce, rather they require engaged parenting on a daily basis which necessitates their parents work together despite their differences.

My role as a Co-Parenting Facilitator is to recognize this is far easier said than done which means creating space for this much needed time, while simultaneously providing guidance, education, and opportunities for conflict resolution in real time as parents navigate this transition and re-focus on their children’s emotional, behavioral, and psychological needs.

Primary Goals of Co-Parenting Facilitation

  • Provide education about child development from an emotional and psychological perspective.
  • Identify barriers to effective co-parent communication and decision-making.
  • Teach and implement tools and techniques to resolve co-parent conflict .
  • Mediate co-parent disagreements and encourage child-centric decision-making.
  • Develop and/or modify parenting plans/agreements to reduce conflict.

PARENTING COORDINATION

A Parenting Coordinator is appointed by Court Order by the presiding Judge in high-conflict divorce/custody cases. The Parenting Coordinator is considered an Office of the Court and has authority to decide issues through a quick decision-making process after working with the parents to resolve their disputes.

When a Parenting Coordinator is appointed it is because the Court finds that it is in the best interest for the children to have a Parenting Coordinator assist their parents in real time to make decisions and implement the final orders issued in a divorce/custody case.

In addition to the ability to resolve disputes, a Parenting Coordinator is empowered to provide assessment and education on child development and parenting, case management, and teach conflict resolution skills in order to manage parental conflict and reduce the need for Court intervention.

More information about the role of the Parenting Coordinator can be found through the Alaska Court System.

FREQUENLTY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the difference between Co-Parenting Facilitation and Parenting Coordination?

The biggest difference between a Co-Parenting Facilitator and Parenting Coordinator is decision-making authority when parents do not agree;

A Parenting Coordinator is granted authority by the presiding Judge in a high-conflict divorce/custody case to resolve co-parent disputes through final decision-making focused on the best interests of the children when parents cannot agree.

A Co-Parenting Facilitator can mediate agreements and provide education about the best interests of children, but cannot make a final decision if the parents do not agree.A Co-Parenting Facilitator may be appointed by Court order or may be mutually agreed upon without Court involvement. Even when appointed by Court order, a Co-Parenting Facilitator holds no authority to make decisions.

Can a Co-Parenting Facilitator or Parenting Coordinator make recommendations or decisions about legal or physical custody? 

Neither a Co-Parenting Facilitator nor a Parenting Coordinator will provide an opinion regarding child custody. That is the role of a Custody Investigator.

Is Parent Coordination/Co-Parenting Facilitation Considered Counseling or Therapy?

Co-Parenting Facilitation and Parenting Coordination are forms Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), not therapy/counseling. The terms “co-parenting counseling/therapy” are often used when discussing Co-Parenting Facilitation and Parenting Coordination. Although unintentional, this is a misuse of the terms “counseling” and “therapy”, which require the diagnosis and treatment of a mental health condition using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual V (DSM-V).

Although clients who participate in Co-Parenting Facilitation and Parenting Coordination may have a mental health diagnoses and require treatment, no mental health diagnoses or treatments are provided by a Co-Parenting Facilitator or Parenting Coordinator, even if he/she is a Licensed Mental Health Provider.

Is Co-Parenting Facilitation or Parenting Coordination Billable to Insurance?  

In order to bill health insurance a mental health diagnosis must be given by a Licensed Mental Health Provider and treatment of the disorder must be the focus of therapy/counseling. Since Co-Parenting Facilitators and Parenting Coordinators are not diagnosing or treating mental health disorders, health insurance cannot be billed.

If mental health treatment is needed for one or both co-parents, then appropriate referrals would be made to qualified mental health professionals.