Sample Order for Structured Email Communication Protocol
Click here for a sample court order if you and your co-parent would like a structured communication protocol to become part of your court-ordered parenting plan. Having a structured way to communicate, detailed in your order, gives you a default choice in case the tension between you becomes great and you can’t seem to find a way to accomplish the necessary business needed to execute your court-ordered parenting plan (e.g. major decision-making). Just like everything else in your court order, it will be your default position in case either of you begins to feel that the communication between you is toxic instead of practical and helpful.
SHORT-TERM PARENTING COORDINATION. We formerly offered Co-Parenting Counseling as a non-confidential, brief therapeutic process. It proved to be confusing for all involved, and we realized that most clients need a short-term, non-confidential process during litigation to help attorneys, GALs and Judges determine the appropriate custody/visitation schedule based on how well the parents are able to communicate. To address that issue, we have eliminated Co-Parenting Counseling (as a brief therapeutic process) and have added Short-Term Parenting Coordination that can be done while litigation is pending under a temporary order or after litigation is over to determine if Long-Term Parenting Coordination (see below) might be in order. Short-Term PC is SIX SESSIONS ONLY (one session with each parent and four joint sessions) with no out-of-session work involved. It is designed to help co-parents refocus their relationship from its former emotional/romantic style to a new practical and business format, as well as learn a structured email protocol to manage their communication. A Parenting Coordinator can offer the tools and strategies to guide co-parents into a new way of thinking about how to raise their children without conflict. At the end of the six sessions, the PC will provide a written recommendation as to whether or not the parents would benefit from continued, Long-Term PC. The job of a PC is NOT to make custody recommendations, nor to resolve litigated issues that are better resolved with a mediator. Cost is $195 for each one-hour session and a security deposit is collected to begin . For more information, contact CNFC by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 404-592-1257.
LONG-TERM PARENTING COORDINATION. This is a long-term intervention (6-18 months) that is designed to address high-conflict co-parenting relationships in which there is a history or high risk of chronic litigation. Children suffer greatly when their childhoods are defined by co-parent conflict, especially the type that leads to constant court intervention and the child being forced to choose a side. A Parenting Coordinator will not only help co-parents refocus their relationship onto the needs of the children, but also help them resolve conflicts on a regular basis rather than using the court system as their first choice of resolution. Parenting Coordinators are trained to teach, model and guide parents to engage in appropriate professional communication. They also may speak with other involved professionals, and the court if necessary, to assist both parents in adhering to the mandates of the court-ordered parenting plan in a peaceful manner. Cost is $195/hour for both in- and out-of-session work and a security deposit is collected to begin. For more information, contact CNFC by emailing email@example.com or calling 404-592-1257.
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POST-SEPARATION FAMILY THERAPY – TRACK ONE (Parent/Child Relationship Healing):
Relationships may be strained as a result of a court case or family event in which the children are angry and beginning to resist visitation, or there has not been a six-month or more period of estrangement. In these cases, the children may be having difficulty re-establishing normal relationships with either or both parents and the family as a whole needs assistance in expressing their feelings and learning how to move beyond the difficulties of divorce or family separation. The goal of this therapy is not to reconnect the co-parents in a meaningful relationship, but to benefit the children in their ongoing relationships with both parents. However, the therapist may encourage and teach appropriate co-parenting boundaries in order to minimize conflict for the sake of the children. This therapeutic intervention is best done AFTER a court case is finalized and no legal action is pending. It is a unique form of family therapy and is executed with a similar structure and commitment of confidentiality to all family members as traditional therapeutic processes. Therefore, the therapist is not expected to testify or make verbal or written reports to anyone outside of the family. Cost is $195/hour for the therapist and $195/hour for the PC and includes both in- and out-of-session work. A security deposit is collected to begin. For more information, contact CNFC by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 404-592-1257.
POST-SEPARATION FAMILY THERAPY – TRACK TWO (for Resist/Refuse Dynamics, aka Reunification Therapy):
This is an intervention designed to help estranged or alienated parents who have not seen their children for six months or more to reconnect with them in a healthy, productive way. This intervention requires a court-order. Length of time depends on each family situation. A two-professional approach is used, including a uniquely-trained family therapist and a parenting coordinator. The Reunification Therapist is trained to identify parental alienation and will work with each family member (including the preferred and resisted parent) to promote a long-lasting connection between the children and both parents. The Parenting Coordinator assists the parents in managing conflict so the parent/child relationships can thrive. Cost is $195/hour for the therapist and $195/hour for the PC and includes both in- and out-of-session work. A security deposit is collected to begin. For more information, contact CNFC by emailing email@example.com or calling 404-592-1257.
Individual POD (Parent of Divorce) Training
When anyone’s parenting skills are called into question, it can be one of the most distressing times in his/her life. Most all parents love their children unconditionally and do not desire to hurt their children in any way, however, divorce and separation can cause such a rift between parents that they begin to become fearful of each other’s parenting styles, discipline strategies, and understanding of child development. A CNFC therapist can assist parents who may have had TPOs issued against them or have been ordered to anger management in the past but need more specific training. It is not always about staying away or controlling anger, it can often be more beneficial to get some hands-on training about how to respond to children of divorce/separation in age-appropriate mental, emotional and physical ways. Typically, the parent training happens over a 90-day period, two sessions per month, along with the client completing an online training course. At least one session will be done observing the parent with the child(ren) on or off site to assess use of skills learned. Cost is $195/hour and a security deposit is collected to begin. For more information contact CNFC by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 404-592-1257.
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OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES
The below web site links are provided as additional resources to help you navigate family change. CNFC does not specifically endorse any of the businesses or services represented by these links. If you find a particular web site helpful, please e-mail us and let us know by clicking on the Contact link below.
Parenting Plan Info
Click here for the guide, Planning for Shared Parenting: A Guide for Parents Living Apart. This booklet was put together by the Massachusetts Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) and has been adopted by many professionals as a helpful aid in arranging parenting plans based on the ages and developmental stages of children.
Click here for a list of non-profit organizations and community agencies that may be able to provide information and resources as you and your family go through transition.
Click here for a list of books related to divorce and family change. It is not a comprehensive list, but some of CNFC’s favorite titles. If you find books that are helpful to you, feel free to click on the CONTACT link and e-mail us a short review and we will consider adding it to our list.