Do you feel constantly at odds with your ex? Are you having trouble following a consistent parenting time schedule? Is it a struggle to make “normal” parenting decisions together, such as where your child will go to school, how to discipline them and what sports they will play? Do you sometimes feel the conflict will never end?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may need to retain a parenting consultant, or a PC. Parenting consulting provides co-parents a safe and neutral place to present their issues and work toward resolution. A formulated process is used by PCs to help parents resolve disputes that is cost effective and efficient. PCs can help parents resolve any issue including, but are not limited to:
- Parenting Time
- Transitions (Pick-up/Drop-off)
- Extracurricular activities
- School placement
- Medical care
Erin Kassebaum is a parenting consultant who is skilled at helping parents resolve conflict as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. Her fair and efficient process helps parents navigate through their struggles so they can focus on the important job of parenting their children.
How Does the Parenting Consulting Process Work?
Initially Erin will meet with you together so you can learn about process and she can hear your immediate concerns. After that Erin will meet with each of you alone so she can get to know you, hear “your side” of the story and learn which issue(s) you need assistance resolving. She will then ask each of you to formulate your “proposal” for resolving an issue.
Erin uses the following techniques to help co-parents resolve their conflict:
- Coaching. Erin works with each of you individually on strategies for communicating with the other parent as well as how to best present your proposal for each issue. She will also coach each of you on how to parent your children in a way that minimizes the impact of the conflict on them. Coaching is done through individual meetings and during short, private “sidebar” conversations during joint sessions.
- Facilitating. When there is a specific issue you are looking to resolve the two of you will meet with Erin to present your proposed resolutions to the conflict. She will help you negotiate with one another in a respectful, safe environment and guide your toward a mutually agreeable solution. If needed, regular communication between the two of you can be monitored by Erin through email or OurFamilyWizard to minimize conflict on an ongoing basis.
- Decision making. If you cannot reach an agreement on a particular issue through facilitation you may request Erin make a decision for you. Depending on the issue, she may ask for your permission to collect collateral information before she makes a decision. Collateral information can come in the form of school or medical records, or conversations with your children, new partner, grandparents or any other person who may shed light on the issue to be decided. Any decision Erin makes will be issued in writing and will be legally binding.
Erin’s hope is that through the parenting consulting process you learn to communicate and compromise so effectively you no longer need a parenting consultant. However, if you work with Erin for a period of time and mutually decide no amount of coaching or facilitating will work, you may move to a decision-only model. Under this model the process changes such that Erin listens to each proposal, gathers any collateral information and issues a decision. Regardless of how you navigate through the PC process, it is sure to save you significant time and money so you can focus less on conflict and more on parenting.
How Much Does it Cost?
Erin charges an hourly rate which you and your co-parenting partner split for joint sessions and pay in full for individual sessions. In-session time is due at the time service. Out-of-session time is deducted from a “deposit” which is funded by the two of you. The deposit is equal to ten hours of fees. Each of you will receive a detailed description of the time Erin spent on your case and the amount charged against the deposit every month.
How Do We Get Started?
Once you and your ex agree on using a specific Parenting Consultant the PC appointment is formalized in a court order for a specified period of time chosen by you. Erin can provide you with a model court order, which you can execute yourself, or ask your attorney(s) to execute for you. It can take quite a while to get a PC appointed so it’s a good idea to start the process well in advance of when you have a pressing issue.
If you have any questions about Parenting Consulting or would like to schedule a consultation, please call Resolution Divorce Services at 612.599.8366.