WeParent Workshop (Atlanta): Reclaim Your Co-Parenting Power!

September 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Events


Reclaim Your Co-Parenting Power Workshop
10am to 4pm
Smyrna Community Center
Smyrna, GA

Download:  Reclaim Your Co-Parenting Power Workshop Flyer

Register for WeParent Workshop (Atlanta):  Reclaim Your Co-Parenting Power! in Smyrna, GA  on Eventbrite

If your relationship with your child’s other parent is causing conflict, stress, anger and plain old drama in your life, it’s probably impacting your children negatively, too.  But…It doesn’t have to!

Join us for “Reclaim Your Co-Parenting Power”, a full-day workshop focused on equipping you with tools to overcome the drama that steals your co-parenting power.  If you’re a single parent doing on your own or who wants to build a stronger parenting partnership for the sake of your kids, you’ll benefit from this workshop…even if your child’s other parent doesn’t participate.

Here’s what we’re going to do:

  • Get you focused on your vision and goals for co-parenting and parenting
  • Mastermind an action plan to help you realize your vision and stay focused on it day-to-day
  • Upgrade your skills for dealing with the drama in your co-parenting relationship…and in your life
  • Gift you with a support network to keep you moving forward after the workshop has ended

Register for WeParent Workshop (Atlanta):  Reclaim Your Co-Parenting Power! in Smyrna, GA  on Eventbrite

Seating is limited.

MamaSpeak: Is Co-Parenting Really Worth All the Effort?

August 3, 2010 by  
Filed under Blogs, MamaSpeak

Stressed Co-Parent

I had never heard of co-parenting until I was smack in the middle of it. Many different reasons lead to my daughter’s father and I ending our relationship. For a while after our relationship ended, I still acted like we were together. Assuming he would be as involved as when we were together. Assuming I could just go over and hang out at his house. Assuming that the feelings he had for me were still there. Guess my head gets stuck up in the clouds sometimes.

It took a long time for me to accept our situation and even longer to view it as a co-parenting situation. I was bitter, and I was downright mad at the situation. I was angry that we weren’t still together and that when it came to our daughter, we had two varying opinions. I said left; he went right. We didn’t talk to each other. We barked. We scowled. We yelled. I was so sure that my way was the best way. I mean, I’m her Mother. I was the one who carried her for 9 months, breastfed her, read her bedtime stories, did her hair in the morning, knew she liked her apples cut in thin slices not thick. And what did he know? Nothing…if you asked me back then. I didn’t value his place in her life, and it all comes back to me being bitter and angry that we weren’t together.

I couldn’t harbor all those negative emotions inside of me forever. It wasn’t healthy for me or my daughter. It was draining all of my energy being so mean, so I had to let it go and embrace the idea of co-parenting. I had to accept him as her Father and her Dad and an equal being in our daughter’s life. Because she isn’t just my daughter, she is our daughter; and we both have a responsibility to keep her healthy, safe, and happy.

Co-parenting matters because my daughter’s happiness is my number one priority. She and her Dad have this unbreakable bond that I don’t understand at all. But I have learned that I don’t need to understand their bond. That’s something special that only they share. When I see them together, when I see my daughter’s face light up as she yells, “Daddy”…well, that’s why co parenting matters. My daughter is lucky and has two parents who think she is the most precious thing on this planet and want nothing more than to see her smile every day.

I want us to be able to have a pleasant conversation, I want us to be able to all go out to dinner together and laugh and have a good time. I want to be able to call him without it being a yelling match. And I want our daughter to know that Mommy and Daddy are ok with being around each other. We owe that to her.

Co-Parenting Conflict from the Mouth of Babes:
Interview with Kara Bishop of Postcards from Splitsville

August 3, 2010 by  
Filed under Articles, Spotlight

Months ago we had the opportunity to interview Kara Bishop, founder of  Postcards from Splitsville, a site that allows children of divorce to anonymously and creatively post their thoughts and feelings online.  We’re finally sharing it with you!


WP: Tell us a little bit about what you do and how you got involved in working in this area around kids.

Kara: I started dating a man who was divorced.  He had young children.  When the kids got a little older and were able to understand things, the ex-wife started letting information slip about how the marriage ended, why the marriage ended, adult information that these little kids really didn’t need to know about.

The 2 older children actually pulled away from the father, the younger one still needed the father’s affection; he was 10 at the time.  After he visited, he would go home and they would call him a traitor and try to convince him to not go anymore.  This this poor kid was just torn in half literally. He couldn’t stop loving his dad.  It just wasn’t possible.  But he didn’t want to betray his mom and the other members of his family.

The child and I were close, and we worked on a little book of promises for parents to make.  It got me really interested in what was going on.

I took the book to Dr. Frank Williams who runs a program here in Tucson called Children of Divorce.  It’s this fantastic 8-week program that kids and parents go through to help them cope.  I got involved with that, and I started working with the 10-12 year olds and was able to create some of the exercises for the class.

And…I’m a huge fan of postsecret.com.  Have you ever heard of that?

WP: I have, yes.

Kara: It’s just a site, very similar to mine, except it’s secrets that adults send in.  I thought we should do something like this for the kids, because one of the exercises we do is, if we can’t cope with something, we either let it go or write it on a piece of paper and burn it or something like that.

So, I thought let’s try this postcard thing, and the kids loved it.  The first couple of times that I did it, I was just shocked at how amazingly in touch with themselves these 10-12 year olds were as far as expressing themselves about how upset they were.

Oh, and I actually met Frank Warren [founder of postsecret.com] and got his blessing.

WP: That was very respectful of you to do that.

Kara: I tell people this is a site for kids to vent their feelings and then come and see that other kids have the same issues.  But really, I think at this point that it’s more for adults, so they can see the pain that their kids go through.

WP: It was really eye opening and impactful as an adult to see the creative expression of what they are feeling, so I can see how this becomes a site for adults.  I can definitely see that.

Kara: The letters that I get aren’t from kids.  They are from adults saying, “Oh, my God, I’ve actually heard these words from my kids and I never really understood.”  For example I get a lot of comments from parents about having said they wish they’d never met their ex, in front of their kids.  They say, “I’ve said that and now I just feel horrible.”

WP: I guess that the translation for a kid is, “You wish I didn’t exist.”

Kara: Right, and they don’t get that, yes, you don’t mean it, but that’s what the kid hears.

WP: When we are careless in how we communicate about the experience of a relationship ending and about the other parent, kids are going to fill in the gaps.  They are going to translate it.  They are going to make it meaningful in a way that they understand.  And in their world, a lot of times that’s scary.

Kara: Or the other effect that I’ve seen, too, is kids that are scared to death of being fired from their family because they have seen another parent fired.

You think the kids don’t know…and they probably don’t understand a lot.  But they try to understand in their own way, and they end up making up something that’s just so much more horrible than the truth.

WP: Let’s talk a little bit about the impact of divorce on children particularly when parents aren’t really handling the conflict well.  What have you seen in the work that you’ve been doing with children of divorce and through Postcards from Splitsville?

Kara: Well, the kids that I work with come to us within months of the divorce.  The impact, wow, it’s almost always devastating.

What I see that makes me upset the most is that a lot of the kids feel there is one person to blame for the divorce.  I think they do that, because somebody has to be the blame…and thank God it’s not them.  Very few of our kids these days think it’s their fault any more.  That used to be a huge issue when we first started, but now it’s not.

And, the whole needing to figure out why this is happening and then placing the blame on someone, I think is really hard on them; because it interferes with the relationship that they had prior to the divorce with one of the parents or both sometimes.

It just rocks their world.  These kids need a sense of stability, and all of a sudden, the most stable thing in their family, whether there was a lot of fighting or not, is caput. It’s broken.  And, it often involves the disappearance of one parent, and mostly it’s the father.

WP: Right.

Kara: And that changes a little here and there, because more fathers have custody of their kids now.  But mostly it’s still the mother.

I’ve seen how these fathers are just set aside, not every single one, of course, right, but it’s almost as if that was an extra piece in our life that we really didn’t need, like that third car or something.

WP: Like an extra appendage?  I wonder if sometimes fathers don’t see themselves that way, too.

Kara: I think they do.  For example, if the marriage ended because of an infidelity on his part,  the guilt there can be immense, and he might feel he doesn’t deserve the children because of what he did.  But, that’s where I would say, okay, but the kid still needs you.

Whatever you did wrong, you can still give love and support, and your child needs that to grow, needs that second set of love, the second opinion, the whole second part.

I think there needs to be a more intense education on how to raise your kids in this unique situation that people just wing.  They wing it, and they don’t understand how devastating almost every word can be.  These kids latch onto one sentence, and that’s the sentence that defines everything for them.

WP: How can an outlet like Postcards from Splitsville help?

Kara: Well again, I created it as a vent for the kids.  But the benefit is really for parents…just to make them stop and think and maybe put that anger in check, because your kids is listening and affected by it.

WP: Thank you for the work you’re doing and for sharing it with our WeParent family.

To learn more, browse postcards or download a postcard for a child to submit, visit www.postcardsfromsplitsville.com.

Do the Math, Shaq: Death threats and Kids = Co-Parenting No-no

April 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Articles

deesha_philyawNow, we aren’t ones to spread gossip, but we couldn’t resist sharing our CoParenting101.org friend, Deesha’s latest post on The Faster Times.  We don’t know if the rumors about Shaq sending death threats to his ex-wife’s new boo are true or not, but we *do* know that Deesha brought a whole lot of heat and wisdom in “An Open Memo to Shaq Re:  Using One’s 6-Year-Old Child to Deliver Death Threats.”  The bottom line:  It’s the kids who suffer most when we act a damn fool inappropriately in our co-parenting relationships.

Here are a couple snippets from her post:

This behavior is straight out of Adventures in How Not to Co-Parent, the book I write in my head everyday while I’m driving.  Just when I think I’ve finished the manuscript, a story like yours comes along…

Let’s say for argument’s sake that the allegations against you are true.  Exactly what response were you hoping for from Shaunie’s boyfriend upon hearing this threat?  Was he supposed to quake in fear?  Disappear from Shaunie’s life?  Step to you so you could kill him?  A more likely result than any of the above is that the threat served only to confuse or frighten your child.   After all, he may be spending considerable time around this man whom Mommy likes and Daddy wants to kill.   Guess who your words affect the most, Shaq.  Here’s a hint: It’s not the boyfriend.

And, then she breaks down “10 unsolicited pieces of advice to any co-parent who thinks it’s a good idea to use a child to relay messages (of the threatening or non-threatening variety), or to pump children for information. ”

Truth is, even if we think we are co-parenting saints, a refresher never hurts.  So, our unsolicited advice?  Read this!

And, if you aren’t following Deesha’s co-parenting edutainment regularly, you should be!

Co-Parenting Matters This Week: Understanding Parental Alienation

April 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Podcast

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Did you miss the last two episodes of our Co-Parenting Matters show? If so, no worries! You can check out the podcasts here:

Adventures in Co-Parenting and Whooping Ash (guest: Sheree Fletcher, remarried mom, entrepreneur, co-parenting with actor Will Smith)

Dealing with High-Conflict in Your Co-Parenting Relationship (guest: Bill Eddy, lawyer, former social worker/counselor, provides practical strategies for dealing with a high-conflict ex)

This Sunday, April 25th is Parental Alienation Awareness Day. On the “Understanding Parental Alienation” episode onCoParenting Matters (9:30 PM EST), we’ll be recognizing Parental Alienation Awareness Day with our guest, Jill Egizii. Jill is a potent advocate for parental alienation awareness. Through her activism and her novel, The Look of Love, Jill works to raise awareness of parental alienation and the devastating impact it can have on children and parents. Jill serves as an Alderman in the city of Leland Grove and as a member of the Illinois Family Law Study Committee established to revamp state divorce law. She is also a board member of Children Need Both Parents, a not-for-profit organization emphasizing shared parenting, and the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization (PAAO) which is dedicated to educating people about parental alienation.

Jill is graciously offering 2 copies of The Look of Love as part of a book giveaway contest via Twitter. Entering is easy: Send a tweet that includes this link:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/coparentingmatters/2010/04/26/understanding-parental-alienation (link can be shortened) …AND mention either: @coparentingshow, @weparent, or @coparenting101

Or simply re-Tweet any message from @coparentingshow, @weparent, or @coparenting101 that references this Sunday’s show.

Do you have an idea or guest nomination (including yourself!) for a future show? Let us know in the comments or email us at contact AT coparentingmatters.com

This Week: Dealing with High Conflict in Your Co-Parenting Relationship

April 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Podcast

dontalienate_bill_eddyDo you and your child’s other parent get along like oil and water?

Do even the simplest interactions between you result in unnecessary drama?

Do you find it difficult or impossible to co-parent peacefully with your ex?

Are YOU the difficult ex who is more committed to conflict/revenge/drama than you are to your children?

Do you want to break the cycle of excessive conflict and increase the peace between you and your co-parent?

Tune in to this week’s “Co-Parenting Matters” show (Sunday 9:30 PM EST),“Dealing with High Conflict in Your Co-Parenting Relationship”.  Our guest this week will be Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq., co-founder and president of the High Conflict Institute and author of the recently released Don’t Alienate the Kids!: Raising Resilient Children While Avoiding High Conflict Divorce and High Conflict People in Legal Disputes.

Through the Institute, Bill teaches the necessary skills for handling high conflict personalities to professionals including attorneys, psychologists and counselors and social workers. And, now, he’s sharing it with the rest of us. On Sunday’s show, we’ll discuss ways to keep your family from getting stuck in a high conflict cycle after a split and how to get out of one if you’re already there. And, we’ll talk about the challenges of partnering with a high conflict parent and effective ways of managing those relationships with our children’s best interests at the forefront.

Can’t catch the show live? Check out the podcast which will be available immediately after the show ends at 11 PM.  Or draw on Bill Eddy’s expertise by posting your questions here, send them to us as info AT weparent DOT com, or tweet us @coparentingshow.

Lifelines for Co-Parenting: Be the Wise One in Your Next Argument

March 25, 2010 by  
Filed under Articles

lifelines_book_thumbWe really love Lifelines: The Book of Black Proverbs, a treasure of wisdom from African peoples across the globe.  The book offers short but potent advice, warnings, and witticisms that apply to every area of life…including co-parenting.  So, keep your eyes open for our new regular feature where we share a proverb and apply it to the art of co-parenting.  And, now for the debut of “Lifelines for Co-Parenting.”

When two quarrel, it is the first
to stop who is the wisest.

–South Africa

Conflict happens. That’s a given. Too, often that conflict shows up as incessant arguing between parents. Everybody’s in it to win it and only willing to stop if the other one does. We all know just how effective that strategy is.

Yes, it’s true, we can’t change the fact that conflict will rear it’s head.  What we can control, though, is how we respond to it. So, if the argue-them-into-submission strategy isn’t really working for you, here are a few others that might serve your co-parenting relationship better.

1. Figure out why you’re arguing…and then check yourself. Just stop! We argue for different reasons. Some people think arguing is healthy. They like to play devil’s advocate, even though the conversation is clearly going to hell. Sometimes, loud talking is just a reflection of our belief that we aren’t being heard. Of course, yelling at or over the other parent doesn’t get us the listening ear we think we’re missing. But, no one said any of this had to make sense. Then, there are those of us who use arguing as a way to stay connected by any means necessary. Knowing that we can get a rise out of the other parent gives us some sick sense of still mattering to him or her. And, then, there are the verbal batterers. They don’t hit, but they seek to execute a verbal beatdown that may be as damaging.  Figure out your angle, and then seek to make a shift by asking yourself what you really want from the other parent if things were ideal.  If your angle isn’t getting you that, then hush, breathe and take a time out.

2. Shift perspective by putting yourself in the other parent’s shoes. We all bring different values, judgments, motivations and objectives to this party. And guess what? The other parent is just as sure and certain and passionate about the “fact” that s/he is right, as you are. So, focusing your efforts on proving your right-ness is an uphill, if not losing, battle. Instead, role play a little. Look at the issue from the perspective of the other parent. Consider what she or he might be feeling. What does s/he care about? What objections might s/he have? What solutions or alternatives might be workable for him or her? Just like a room looks different if you’re in a headstand, turning your co-parenting conflict upside down may help you see something you couldn’t see when you were “right”-side up.

3. Establish rules of engagement. You already know that your time-for-battle muscles start to tingle when you feel a disagreement coming on. Try a preemptive strike by setting some ground rules up front. Try agreeing that neither parent will interrupt the other for a specified amount of time…and then use a kitchen timer to keep yourselves honest. Take notes if you just have to, but better yet…listen. You just might hear something that enlightens you. The worst case scenario is that you earn some good will by allowing the other parent to feel heard. Pinky swear that neither parent will call the other one names or make sweeping, generalized comments about the other. And, finally, promise to focus on the issues and the solutions and not who should take all the blame for initiative the problem. That is a waste of time and energy that just won’t move you forward. And, in the end, it does nothing for your children.

Like the proverb suggests, it takes two to quarrel; but only one to end it. Hopefully, these strategies will help you be the wiser of the two.

What tips can you share for managing disagreements with your co-parent?

Co-Parenting Matters This Week: Co-Parenting Drama Rx

March 25, 2010 by  
Filed under Podcast

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This week on Co-Parenting Matters we’re discussing co-parenting drama…and the prescription for it. Join us for “Co-Parenting Drama Rx” this Sunday at 9:30pm EST. We’re going to be sharing your questions about co-parenting challenges and dilemmas with a panel of experts who will offer their answers, advice and insights.  And, we hope you’ll call in to share yours, too.

Our Drama Rx panel includes Brooke Randolph, Dr. Makungu Akinyela, or Dr. A, as we like to call him and RJ Jaramillo of SingleDad.  Brooke is a licensed mental health counselor and parenting coordinator with a wealth of experience in helping parents sort out their co-parenting relationships.  Dr. A is a family therapist, professor and founder of the Family Center of South Dekalb based in the Atlanta area.  And, RJ Jaramillo is the founder of SingleDad.com, a website and community dedicated to single parenting and especially to supporting newly divorced, remarried and widowed fathers. They’ll all be here, and we’ll be throwing all types of questions and scenarios at them for advice.  Don’t miss this opportunity to have your questions answered.

Send us your questions, concerns and tricky co-parenting situtations.  You can email them to us at info AT weparent DOT com or drop them in the comments section.

Co-Parenting Matters March Line-up

March 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Podcast

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We’ve already kicked off our March line-up on Co-Parenting Matters with the “My Co-Parent Has A New Partner…Now What?” episode.  Our guests were Lauren Navratil, founder of the blog, My Life Incomplete, along with her ex-husband, David, and his girlfriend, Sylvia.

Yeah.  You read that right.

Through their honest sharing, we got a glimpse into the lives of two co-parents…and a partner…all of whom are doing their best (and a great job from our perspective) of creating an environment that puts their son’s well being at the center of it all.  As Lauren and David continue to build their co-parenting relationship, Lauren and Sylvia are establishing a friendship that helps them identify ways that they, too, can partner in giving Lauren and David’s son the most loving family experience they can.  We truly admire the the willingness of this family to share themselves, their experiences and insights about parenthood, divorce and co-parenting.

Check out the archive to get some of the gems they shared.  And, be sure to check out Lauren’s guest post, “We Share the Joy of Raising our Son–50/50” on CoParenting101.org.

And, here’s what’s up the rest of this month:

Sunday, March 21
Co-Parenting, Step-Parenting and Sugar Milk, Oh My!…An Interview with Ron Mattocks

Set your reminder now for what promises to be both an enlightening and entertaining discussion with Ron Mattocks, founder of the popular Daddy blog, “Clark Kent’s Lunchbox” and author of the soon-to-be released “SugarMilk: What One Dad Drinks When He Can’t Afford Vodka.” We’ll learn about the ups and downs of his journey from corporate CEO to stay-at-home Dad, his experiences as a father to three boys and two stepdaughters, and his adventures as a co-parent and newlywed. .And, we’re guaranteed to get all of that served up with a healthy dose of humor. Ron has plenty of insights to share about the aftermath of divorce, readjusting to married life, the awkwardness of being a step-dad, the loss of male identity after being laid off, and ultimately, an understanding of what fatherhood really means. We’re excited to have Ron on the show to celebrate the release of “SugarMilk” and to learn a thing or two about how courage, humility and a little humor can turn life’s challenges into one sweet adventure.

Sunday, March 28
Co-Parenting Drama Rx

Got drama? Co-Parenting Matters just might have the prescription. We’re inviting a panel of experts to join us for a show dedicated to answering your questions and suggesting solutions to all kinds of tricky co-parenting scenarios. So, email us your questions, challenges, frustrations to contact AT coparentingmatters DOT com or to info AT WeParent DOT com, and let our Drama Rx team help you sort it out.

Mediation 101: An Interview with Gene A. Johnson, Jr., Pt. 2

February 2, 2010 by  
Filed under Articles

This is Part 2 of our extensive interview with Gene A. Johnson, Jr., also know as, “The Mediator”, who provided us with a basic lesson about mediation. There was so much goodness in the conversation, that we’ve broken this one into a 4-parter, so be sure to read Part 1, too.  You can also check out our “Mediation 101″ episode of “Co-Parenting Matters” to hear Gene talk more about mediation.

Gene A. Johnson, Jr. aka "The Mediator"

Gene A. Johnson, Jr. aka "The Mediator"

WP: So, I want to clarify a couple of things you talked about.  I thought it was interesting when you said that in some divorce cases, there may be 2 mediators for gender balance.

Gene: As mediators, we pride ourselves on being impartial and neutral, so a well-established and effective mediator would probably tell you that it doesn’t matter what their gender is.  But, that’s a choice and an option the party has.  Going back and comparing this to litigation, you know you can’t pick your judge. In mediation, you can select your mediator.

WP: Can you give us a sense of what percentage of cases actually do get resolved via mediation versus a court order?

Gene:  It really depends on your jurisdiction.  So for example, in California, I believe almost all family cases when you go to court, they don’t even allow you to see a judge before going through some mediation or mediation-like process.

WP: Got it.

Gene: But in other jurisdictions, mediation may not be offered or may be offered as an afterthought.  So it varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  I can say though that studies have shown that when a case does go to mediation, somewhere along the lines of somewhere between 70-80% of those cases do come to some sort of resolution and agreement.

And, if you reach an agreement in mediation, this is a benefit of mediation, the compliance rate is extremely high.  You’re looking at nearly a 90% compliance rate because this is what parties have agreed to on their own will.  No one has forced this agreement on them, so they are more likely to comply with it.

WP: We talked previously about situations where one party may have an attorney and the other may not.  But what about issues like the financial ability of one parent to sustain a mediation forever versus the other parent.  Are there ways that mediators are trained to insure that the process does come to closure?  And how does a parent who doesn’t have a lot of money to go on and on in this process insure that the power imbalance isn’t impacting or forcing them or putting them under duress to sign an agreement that they really aren’t fully bought into?

Gene: Right.  Power dynamic…this is a huge topic.  Mediators have entire 3-day and 4-day conferences around this subject, because it is very important.  First let me say that it is not a mediator’s job to balance power.  Once a mediator takes on a role of balancing power, he or she is no longer neutral and no longer impartial.  Because now I’m taking sides, and I’m trying to make sure that this person is not getting the short end of the stick or what have you.

That being said, in every relationship and every encounter, there is a power imbalance.  No two people enter into any negotiation on the same footing.  Like you said, one may have more money, one may have more resources, whatever the reason, there is hardly ever equal footing of power.

That’s okay, though. because that’s how we make decisions.  When we make a decision, we base it on that.  We base it on what we have and the dynamics in a relationship, etc.

WP: Right.

Gene: That being said, it is a mediator’s job to make sure that no one is using this process unfairly or not negotiating in good faith…and I put that in quotations.  So if the mediator feels that someone is using this process to get at another person or just to wear the other person down, then the mediator can find him or herself in an ethical situation where they may have to stop the mediation or determine if that the case is not appropriate for mediation, because a party is not negotiating in good faith.

For the most part, this plays out in cases of domestic violence.  In domestic violence, there’s a huge power imbalance and one party is usually coerced either by fear, intimidation or concern about their safety, so they are willing to agree to almost anything.  In those scenarios, that case should be screened out of mediation.

Cases where there is domestic violence in a relationship should not be referred to mediation.  In mediation, we feel as long as a person can freely negotiate without fear of  harm or safety, they are not coerced into anything as well as they are making an informed decision, they have all the information they need, then that case is appropriate for mediation.

WP: Got you.  What other examples of situations are there where mediation may not be a viable solution for parents?

Gene: Mediation may not be a viable solution, once again, if there is a domestic violence situation.  Mediation, obviously, will not be appropriate if one person does not want to go to mediation.  So those two things, other than that, I think mediation can work in almost any other scenario.

Even in scenarios where you may think you’ve decided on all of the parenting arrangements and all of the custody and limitations, everything except for the month of July, because maybe the father wants the child to spend the month of July with him.  You can go to mediation just to resolve that one issue, and all the other issues can be decided in litigation in court.

I think mediation allows that flexibility, so where you may think mediation may not be appropriate for all issues, there may be one or two issues that you can work out in mediation.

WP: So does that mean that for parents who, for example, want to modify orders at some point, years after or months after there’s been a court order, mediation is a potentially good option for addressing that.

Gene: Mediation definitely may be a good option for addressing that sort of thing; although, I don’t want to overstep my boundaries and give mediators more power than they have in terms of overturning a court order or a court decision.  So what I would recommend is that if you go to mediation and you want to amend an agreement, that’s fine, but make sure you go to your lawyer or to court and go through the proper channels of doing so.

In some jurisdictions, it’s okay to come up with mediated agreement then present it to the court and say okay, this is how we want to amend our parenting plan.  You really need to check with your jurisdiction in terms of how that process is done, but I believe that mediation could definitely be an option.

Read Part 1 of this interview

Listen to our discussion with Gene on “Co-Parenting Matters”

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