- by lifesdoorsmediation
- in Abusive Relationships, accusations, agreements, anger, Attitude, balance, Bias, Child Custody, Children, Children of divorce, Co-parenting, Communication, Conflict, Coparenting, Coparenting Help Minnesota, Coping, Court Authorities, Courts, custody, Dads, Dads, Discover Your Piece LLC, divorce, Divorce Coaching, Divorce Education Minnesota, Divorce Nastiness, Divorce with Children, Divorced Parent Mentors, Ex Spouse, Family Court, Family Court System, family law, Fear, fighting, High conflict consulting, high conflict divorce, High Conflict U, joint custody, joint custody conflict, Minnesota Courts, Minnesota Divorce Help, Minnesota Divorce Professionals, Minnesota Family Law, Moms, Parent Coordinator, Parent Coordinators, Parenting, parenting after divorce, Parenting Consultants, Parenting Coordinators, parenting sytles, Parenting Time, Relationships, struggles, Toxic Relationships, Triggers, Unhealthy Relationships
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As someone who has been working for almost 20 years to help parents navigate the very choppy waters of family court, I get a fair amount of calls and emails from parents who feel overwhelmed with how off track their case has become. High conflict cases snowball into unimagineable craziness and parents desperately want […]
- by lifesdoorsmediation
- in Child Custody, Children of divorce, Co-parenting, Court Authorities, Courts, custody, Dads, Discover Your Piece LLC, divorce, Divorce Nastiness, Divorce with Children, Divorced Parent Mentors, Family Court, Family Court System, family law, Free E-Courses, High conflict consulting, high conflict divorce, High Conflict U, joint custody, joint custody conflict, Minnesota Courts, Moms, Parent Coordinator, Parent Coordinators, Parenting, parenting after divorce, Parenting Classes, Parenting Consultant Training, Parenting Consultants, Parenting Coordinators, School, Toxic Relationships, Training
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Life’s Doors Mediation is partnered with Discover Your Piece. We are working together to make things better for divorced parents everywhere. I am sharing something new and exciting with you and I hope you will give it a try. Check out Discover Your Piece and their education site for High Conflict parents, High Conflict U!
High Conflict U offers a free e-course to learn everything you wanted to know about parenting time expeditors ( a role exclusive to the state of Minnesota ) and Parenting Consultant/Coordinators. Enroll now to learn about these important roles for your family.
- by lifesdoorsmediation
- in Child Custody, Children, Conflict, Coparenting, Coping, Court Authorities, Court Orders, Court Reform, custody, Dads, Dads, divorce, Divorce with Children, Ex Spouse, families, Family Court, Family Court System, fighting, Guardian ad Litems, Healthy Relationships, judges, Moms, Parent Coordinator, Parent Coordinators, Parenting, parenting after divorce, Parenting Consultants, Parenting Coordinators, parenting sytles, Parenting Time, Relationships, Uncategorized
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If I were to pass legislation to improve the Family Courts, I would not want to pass a joint custody assumption or a 50-50 shared parenting time assumption or anything of the sort. I’d put forth a “Make No Assumptions” Family Law bill. I would prefer that the courts not be involved in families at all. If you are the two parents whose relationship resulted in bringing a new life into this world, you already share a child. Why look to the court to give you something you already have? The only time a court should be concerned about the relationships in your family is if someone or something is denying with or interfering with your right to participate in that relationship. Other than that, it should be up to you to determine how parenting should be split, based on numerous different factors, and if you have to look to a court for a decision, they should have to look at those numerous different factors, too. A split down the middle might be the right way to go, but it might not be. We should also keep in mind that parenting is not just about time with the children. It is about much more. Raising a child is not an equal proposition. It’s not a perfect science, and it is definitely not fair. 50-50 is something we invented to seem fair, but is it fair? Is it fair to the child? What about the parent who works evenings, whose kids are in school all day? Should we still give evening time, to be fair, even though the parent cannot be there? If that parent has every weekend with the child, is that fair and equal to the parent who gets zero weekends? Kids do not always feel close to both parents equally, at all times. That is just the nature of life, love and the intricacies of a relationship, and it isn’t always fair. If parents come to court to settle parenting time disputes, shouldn’t the court have to look at all of the factors of the case and then decide what makes sense for that family over what is fair?
Let me explain why I believe that courts should not make assumptions about custody, or even parenting time.
In Minnesota, the courts use the Best Interests of the Children Standards when there is a Custody dispute. That standard is often applied in parenting time disputes as well. Many legal experts admit that these standards are out of date. Personally, I feel that the Best Interest standards are a myth, just like much of what Family Court tries to do to “Case Manage” families, is a myth. Families cannot and should not be case managed, and who is qualified to determine anyone’s best interest?
The interesting thing about the best Interest of the Child Standard is that the courts have gone to a shared parenting assumption throughout the nation. It may not be law in every state, but it is the line of thinking behind the scenes. Research shows that children do better in life when they have involvement and on-going contact with both of their parents, whether in the marital home, or after the marriage has ended. Shared parenting, one could say, is in the “Best Interests of the Child”. I am not arguing that fact. Whenever possible, both mom and dad should continue to be involved parents for their children. What I am going to argue here is whether or not the courts are actually concerning themselves with the best interest of the child, or more with the best interest of the parent. Is giving a parent 50% of a child’s time/life about the child, or about the parents perceived “right” of fairness?
There is research out there that shows children of married parents do better than children of unmarried parents. Should a court force a couple to stay married because of that research? How can you force a relationship between two people? Still, Family Courts do try to force their idea of shared parenting on families and it has been a disaster. They instill parental “rights”, and when parents fight over those shared rights, there is no one actually looking at the “rights” or needs of the child. The child becomes lost in the battle. The battles are almost always a dispute about what dad wants or what mom wants, and judges decide which parent “wins”. Children are an unseen entity that everyone loses sight of. They are usually not in the court and rarely given a voice. Of course age has to do with that somewhat, but even older children are excluded from the process.
I do agree that a child has 2 parents with equal rights, and those parents share the rights to that child. I really hesitated writing that last sentence because to say a child belongs to both parents, or anyone has the “rights” to each other seems highly adversarial and enslaving. It creates a misconception that a person could be the property of someone. We do not own our children. We have been blessed with being given a relationship with them and a responsibility to care for them. We have to recognize that both people are the parents of the child, and the child was born to those two individuals who produced the child. I do not want to use words that imply “ownership”. None of us have a “right” to another person. Maybe we need to call it “relationship with”, and rather than protecting “parental rights”, we should protect the “parental relationship”. When you think in terms of a relationship with someone, you can then realize that a relationship cannot be proclaimed. If you want to have a relationship with another human being, you have to cultivate and cherish that relationship. You have to honor and respect the other person if you want to keep them in relationship with you. This applies to a co-parent and it applies to your child. It applies to every person with whom you intend to have an ongoing relationship, and asking a court to proclaim it for you will never create the relationship you hope to have with your child, former spouse that you parent with, or anyone else.
If we want to look at best interest of a child, we need to look at best interest according to whom? I certainly would not want anyone deciding what was in my best interest because they would have to know my history and what things have happened in my life that forged the person I am today. They would have to know my heart, and what makes me tick. They would have to know what my passions are, what I am interested in and what I am not interested in. They would have to know what family means to me, because it means different things to different people. Some people could care less about blood relationships and more about caring relationships in their lives, than they care who shares DNA. They would have to know my life experience from birth, and there is just no way that they could. So who is the best authority on what is in anyone best interests? As you ponder that question, you can see, that is a tough one to answer.
Maybe it should be the best interest of the family. What do little Mary and Johnny need? What do mom and dad need? What does the family need to make this transition easier for all? What has happened in their past? What are their dreams for the future? Can a family find that kind of help in the legal system? No, they cannot. You can ask for court orders, but try to get enforcement when another individual is truly opposed to something. Asking for court orders also creates a bad pattern for your life because the only authority courts have over your family exists now, because of a minor child. If you have to force children to be in relationship with you, what happens when they turn 18? A parent had better hope to cultivate, honor and respect that relationship so that it still exists when a child becomes an adult. Court can only ever be a temporary fix. You will need to figure it out at some point, or you just might lose it all in the end.
The reason that no one should make assumptions about families is because families are complex. Is it fair when one parent wants the relationship with their children, but not the responsibility for them? Families are made up of individuals and relationships. They have different passions. They have different personalities. They have different schedules. There may be good reason why the parents do not interact. There may be good reasons why a parent should not have 50% of their children’s time. Parents have to look at time, not as a reflection of their value as a parent, but rather as the value of their child’s life and activities and interests. Life cannot be scheduled on weekends and mom’s time/dad’s time, and be fair to everyone. Life happens on its own schedule and in its own time frame. Events and milestones happen when they happen. Parents and children have different time frames of healing from trauma, and let me tell you that there are very few things in life as traumatic as divorce, especially divorce with children.
In a perfect world, we would stop talking in terms of “Parental Rights” and the “best interest of the children” and start honoring and respecting the family relationships and dynamics. These things cannot be legislated or court ordered. We can and do have laws to protect parental relationships so that parents are never denied time with their children, or restricted in building a relationship with their children. Denying and restricting time is something that not only warring parents try to do, but courts do as well, and there are laws that are supposed to prevent that, if only those would be enforced. Naysayers will always remind me about safety and abuse, but if the Family Court would get out of relationships, the criminal courts could and should deal with abuse and neglect issues where they exist.
Children are not property and society needs to stop treating them as such. We are destroying beautiful children as we carve up their lives into the ownership of percentages of time, and we are setting them up for failure. They are also being given a horrible example of how to build and cultivate healthy relationships and work through relationship conflict. We have to do better as a society with honoring and respecting each other as the beautiful, wondrous people that we are.
- by lifesdoorsmediation
- in Abuse, Abusive Relationships, Assertiveness, balance, Battered Women's Groups, Child Abuse, Child Custody, Conflict, Coparenting, Coparenting Help Minnesota, Coping, Court Authorities, Court Orders, custody, divorce, Divorce Coaching, Divorce Education Minnesota, Divorce Nastiness, Divorce with Children, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, families, Family Court, Family Court System, Fear, fighting, high conflict divorce, Minnesota Divorce Professionals, Parent Coordinator, Parent Coordinators, parenting after divorce, Parenting Consultants, Parenting Coordinators, Parenting Time, self care, Single parenting, Toxic Relationships, Unhealthy Relationships
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I have a personal experience of domestic violence. I am just putting that out there so that people know that I know what I am talking about. I understand domestic violence from your perspective. I lived it. I escaped it. I moved beyond it, and I went through trying to prove it in Family Court. I learned a lot from it and that is why I want to help you learn from my experience. The goal here is to help others understand where it is going to be beneficial to you in Family Court and where it is not.
Let me first caution you that if you are in an abusive relationship, tell someone about it. Find someone you trust, a family member, or a friend, and tell them. Do not be ashamed or afraid to do so. It is the first step toward a better life. If you don’t have someone in your life that you can go to, find a domestic violence organization such as the Domestic Abuse Project, the Battered Women’s Coalition, Cornerstone, Sojourner Project, Alexandra House, The National Domestic Violence Hotline, or do you own search to find an organization near you. They will help you.
My second caution is to know that the above listed organizations will help you and encourage you to tell your abuse story to court authorities. That is important. I just caution you to know when it will help you and when it will hurt you so that you who should hear it and how to tell it in a way that really will help you. Knowledge is power. Domestic Violence groups want to help you, but they may not always know how best to apply it in the Family Court situation.
My third caution is that if you are going through a divorce from an abuser, tell your attorney as early in the process as possible. I know it is hard to do because of the shame involved, but this is important for your children’s sake. You have put your children first all these years so you need to be brave just a little longer and put it all out there. Ask for help from an advocate so that you can be your bravest now. It is very important.
My fourth caution is to make sure your attorney understands abuse and when to apply it to your case. Not all of them do. They have to use it for maximum effect. If they don’t, they are going to talk you into making some really bad choices, and sign on for things that are not in your best interests, for example, a Parenting Consultant or Coordinator. If your attorney is not presenting your case correctly, find one who will. The Domestic Violence groups should know attorneys who get it. I also review pleadings to see if an attorney is presenting that aspect of your case for your best interests. If your attorney would consult with me on domestic violence, I’d be happy to help with strategy, too. While I am not an attorney, I know when and where they can best use this piece of your divorce story, and protect you from getting stuck in a big mess.
When you have a history of domestic violence, you have spent all of your time living under a cloud of worrying about what the abuser wants. You have lived your life trying not to make him or her mad. You know the hell it brings when you make them mad. You are now conditioned to be hypervigilant, always reading the behavior of others in an effort to protect yourself. In Family Court, this hyper-vigilance can be misconstrued as mental illness on your part. For this reason, you need to do Family Court divorce and then be done with it. Get your judgement and decree, and then get out. Do not sign up for any court authority to manage your case. While you may think you need a professional to make decisions because you and your ex will never agree on matters related to the children, you are better off going with professionals who cannot coerce you into situations that will make you relive the abuse daily. Stay away from any professionals who can court order you to do things that will interfere with your parenting, and your healing process, and who may completely misread your actions. Any on-going Family Court actions put you at further risk of abuse, and will not benefit your children. Your best hope for healing and raising healthy children is to seek help from a therapist and/or domestic violence groups. You can move beyond domestic violence in your life, but you will not move past it in the horrific world of Family Court.
The most beneficial times to get your story across in Family Court:
With your attorney, from day one
Domestic Violence is a reason why your attorney should look out for you when trying to settle financial and property matters to ensure that you are not intimidated into giving away too much of what you are entitled to.
Also, many states have custody and parenting time laws in regards to proven domestic violence. While it is an uphill battle to get sole custody in the “group think” of family court, a world where everyone is equal and parents should share custody 50-50, there will never be a better time to go for sole custody and keep your family out of the court clutches than in your original divorce proceedings. Post decree it is nearly impossible to make any changes if you have not made the initial plea. Abusers do not think of their children’s best interest and so it is my opinion that you should not have joint custody with an abuser. That is the reason why many states have laws about this in the first place. However, if you find your lawyer is too wimpy about this issue, and many are, be careful with this. Many people are afraid to use the court as it is intended. This includes lawyers. If in doubt, get a second opinion. We do it with medical care and we should do it with lawyers, too, when it seems that they are not being an advocate for us. Tread carefully, but confidently, when you can prove your claims.
Also make sure to follow your gut instincts. Most domestic abuse victims know that they will never get their ex to work with them on important decisions regarding the children, but legal professionals give you false hope that your ex will change. Haven’t you hoped for this for years? You couldn’t make it happen and neither will they. Trust your gut.
With court professionals, post decree.
This part is tricky business. First off, in my opinion, you should avoid getting a “case manager” type of court professional assigned to your case. These would be Parenting Consultants and Coordinators, but may also be a Guardian ad Litem or something else. These roles are not helpful for Domestic Violence and often increase the hostility and interactions between you and the abuser, turning your life and your children’s lives into a nightmare.
I have seen many parents push the abuse claims, when they cannot prove it after the fact. As I said, the best time to prove it and use it is during the initial divorce proceeding. Post decree, there is little that can be done about it, especially by the court professional. I have sat in many trainings with professionals who say, “we don’t care about domestic violence”. Personally, they will tell you that they do care and wish there was no such thing, but professionally, there is nothing they can do about it. Nothing. There is no place to report domestic violence of an adult and no one who could do anything about it if there was. What would you expect them to do? You would think that they could, at the very least, keep the abuser away from you, but instead, the frequently force you to come together “for the children”. This shows just how little they care about domestic violence.
Police can act on domestic violence. The problem for you is that they are part of the criminal court system. Criminal courts will address it and can go so far as to put an abuser in jail. Family court has very little in the way of remedies for domestic violence of an adult. Keep that in mind. Not all court systems are the same. Family Court deals with custody, parenting time, and division of property. They do not deal with crime. Something else you need to know is that criminal courts will rarely deal with an issue when you are actively involved with Family Court for that issue. That is a big problem. Family Court sucks all issues into it over other courts. If a crime is committed related to domestic violence, it must be very blatant and beyond a reasonable doubt, to be prosecuted in criminal court. The emotional abuse and harassment of parenting time and legal custody matters typically falls to the Family Court to deal with. In their eyes, with joint custody, the parents have equal rights to the children and as such, are expected to “co-parent”. Rather than protect you from an abuser, the Family Court often brings you more interaction with the abuser because they have an expectation that you and the other parent will work together to raise your children.
What you can hope to achieve in Family Court in regards to domestic violence is direction on how to communicate and facilitate co-parenting. By telling your story, you can hope that a court authority will understand why you want little to do with the abuser, or why you are always worried about things that might happen because you have had to be hyper-vigilant for so many years, but there will not be much else that they can do for you. Many of them will ignore your claims entirely because the violence history is not relative to the role that they are fulfilling to bring about co-parenting. Even when a professional does believe you, you have to take action about it. Nothing comes on its own. You have to be the advocate for your healing and for the well being of your children. Here’s why it is your battle to fight, for example:
Parenting Consultants/Coordinators are like a mini court. You agree to use them to settle parenting disputes instead of going to the court. The Parenting Consultant/Coordinator is now basically the judge of your family to settle disputes about the children. In court, you must file a motion in order for a judge to make a decision. That is how it works. Courts are not just sitting around watching people and waiting for something to happen so they can jump in uninvited and decide an issue. In the Parenting Consultant process, you must ask the PC to make a decision and you should also give them an idea of how you want the matter resolved. This is similar to how you ask a court to decide an issue for you. You lay out the area of disagreement, tell the court how you want to see it decided, and ask the court to decide it. Since a Parenting Consultant is a mini court on their own, you want to approach issues the same way. The difference is that Parenting Consultants don’t have to know or understand the law. They are deciding the law of your family as is spelled out in your court orders, or agreements that the two parents have created over the years. In their role they are also supposed to “assist” the parents in co-parenting.
When you tell a parenting consultant about a history of abuse, you need to take it further than just telling your story. When you tell a court authority a story, they can really just determine if they believe it or not. They could also, I suppose, try to make the abuse stop, but when you tell your PAST story, to them, it has already stopped. Again, there is nothing they can do about something that happened in the past.
I see victims who have learned that domestic violence has an impact on custody and so they continue to tell their story repeatedly, hoping to get some kind of action out of the court authority, whether it is a PC or a judge, but you need to know:
- the difference between criminal court vs family court
- the role of the court professional on your case
- what are the expectations of co-parenting in joint custody
- the differences between sole and joint custody
- the differences between physical custody and legal custody
- how you have to take action for yourself and your children
- what is parenting time vs custody
- constant court interactions interfere with your healing process and that is not in the best interests of your child
In Family Court, the main reason that courts stay involved with a family is out of concern for the children. They care about the conflict because of the effect it has on the children. They don’t necessarily care about you. When a childless couple divorces, there is no continuing involvement from the court. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you need to look out for yourself. You can do this with the help of therapists and advocates who understand what you are going through and what you have been through. If you are going to tell your story in Family Court, it needs to be done strategically. You have to learn to tell your story in terms of making a request for a remedy, but also to balance if that remedy is doable under the parameters of the court orders in your case. I wish I could say with any confidence that you someone you can turn to for help in Family Court, but I can’t. Even when the court authority understands domestic violence, the professional’s role, and the court orders, dictate how they make decisions. It is going to be up to you to explain what it is you are asking for and why. Your history of abuse may come into play if you want separate meetings from the other parent, or if you want to put limits on communication between you and the other parent. It definitely comes into effect if you plan to file for sole custody, however, a Parenting Consultant cannot change custody so you don’t need to try and hammer that home to the PC. You will also need to understand how professionals must try to balance your needs as a victim with joint custody and co-parenting. It is my opinion that you will do better outside of the Family Court system, but when you have to use the system, do so strategically.
- by lifesdoorsmediation
- in accusations, assessments, Attitude, Bad guys, Child Abuse, Child Custody, Children, Communication, Conflict, Coparenting, Coping, Court Authorities, custody, divorce, Divorce Nastiness, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, downward spiral, Ex Spouse, Family Court, Family Court System, fighting, Parent Coordinator, Parent Coordinators, Parenting, Parenting Consultants, Parenting Time, Single parenting
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I often listen to parents who are so enmeshed in the Family Court System that they are willing to flat-out tell a potential Parenting Consultant that they want to prove the other parent is “bad”. There are several things that astound me about this revelation.
One, my surprise at hearing them openly admit that? This used to be a strategy, but now is just a sad fact of truth.
Two, what do they hope will happen from proving the other parent is “bad”? None of them seem to know this, but I suspect they hope that the other parent will lose parenting time or custody. Still, they never really “get” how the System works. I do, and therefore, I am horrified that anyone would entertain this notion. Yes, you could call me a hypocrite, because I did get sole custody, but I did not get sole custody by proving how “bad” my ex was. I got sole custody by proving how the delay in decision-making, on important issues such as medical care, was detrimental to my children, AND detrimental to myself and the children’s father. My whole family won when I won sole custody! So it perplexes me when parents want to show how “bad” the other parent is.
Three, are their lawyers just hoping to pocket a lot of money? As a non lawyer who knows just how biting the system is for children and families, I cannot think of any other reason a legal professional would direct their client to drop their children deeper into the system. I would tell you, and have told some people, to run like hell in the other direction.
The problem with trying to prove the other person is bad is this: suppose you succeed? Do you expect some miraculous event to occur? A Parenting Consultant/Coordinator is there to help the two of you communicate and co-parent, and if you cannot make a decision about an issue regarding your child, then the PC can. The PC cannot change custody or child support so you’d maybe, at best, get a shift in percentage of parenting time, if you successfully prove “badness”. You still have to compel the professional to act. For some reason people think that if you can demonstrate how bad the other parent treats you, something magical will happen to free you of that other parent forever.
The truth is that if you are trying to prove the other parent is “bad” to you, nobody really cares about that. If you are trying to prove the other parent is “bad” to the children, bad is rather hard to define. What you think is “bad” may not be what the court professionals think are”bad”. If the other parent is physically abusive to the children, you may get somewhere, but you need to make sure you know what you are asking for. It would be extremely rare for a parent to be cut out of the children’s lives completely. I have seen cases where the parent cuts a parent out of the children’s lives completely, but the courts rarely do.
I guess what I am trying to say to you is to be careful about going down this road. It often backfires. If you do succeed in showing the bad side of your ex, you and the children will be made part of the (losing) effort of trying to fix the situation. You will likely see and interact more with your “bad” ex than ever before, and so you will not be rid of them, you will have to put up with much more.
One more thing, usually, if someone is truly acting “bad”, you should have no need to show that. The professionals on the case will see and understand it, eventually. The unfortunate thing is that many parents trying to prove their ex is bad, come across as desperate and unstable, creating their own threat to their parenting time with the kids.
My best advice would be to stay out of court and away from court authorities as much as you can. Don’t let them take control of your children.
- by lifesdoorsmediation
- in Abuse, Abusive Relationships, assessments, Bad guys, Being punished, Bias, Child Abuse, Co-parenting Classes Minnesota, Coparenting, Coparenting Help Minnesota, Coping, Court Authorities, custody, divorce, Divorce classes, Divorce Classes Minnesota, Divorce Education Minnesota, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, Ex Spouse, Family Court, Fear, fighting, Good Guys, High conflict consulting, Parent Coordinator Training, Parent Coordinators, Parenting, Parenting Classes, Parenting Consultant Training, Parenting Consultants, Parenting Time, Physical Abuse, Relationships, Single parenting, Toxic Relationships, Trust, Unhealthy Relationships
- 27 Comments
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
When I created my first website, I had a page called, “Rate Your PC”. My plan was to collect information on all Parenting Consultants in Minnesota so we could find out if there were any good ones, and keep the good ones in business while weeding out the bad ones. At the time, my attitude about being a PC was, “Hell NO!” I NEVER wanted to inflict that kind of damage on a family. Period.
After working as a coach, it turned out that most of my clients came to me for help dealing with their parenting consultant and hostile co-parent. I blogged about PCs and people would find me because of that. After a while, I decided that I really needed to write a book because all of the questions were the same: “How do you get rid of a parenting consultant (coordinator)?” “Why won’t they do something about my ex?” “How did I become the bad guy in all of this?” “Can you file a complaint against a PC?” All of these questions and more are covered in my book, “The Parenting Consultant Nightmare”
As part of my research for the book, I attending the training to be a Parenting Consultant. Don’t think for a moment that my stomach wasn’t queasy. It was. I attended the Parenting Time expediter training as well, even though it was facilitated by my former PTE and PC. I think she was much more intimidated than I was. Because the training was pretty good, I did decide to offer these services. It’s something I struggle with all the time. Is it the right thing to do? If you have any feedback on the question, I hope you’ll either comment after the post, or send in a contact form through the website. Many clients tell me they want me to offer those services because I “get it”. Still, if I am their coach, I cannot be their PC. Anyway, having attended the training, and offering PC services, made me rethink that “Rate your PC” page. Not because I felt hypocritical in collecting the data, and not because I have become “one of them”, but because I realized it was not giving me what I was looking for.
Being a friend to parents who deal with high conflict co-parenting situations is not easy. I can help you with many things, and I have succeeded in empowering people into making the system work better for them, but I cannot make the situation go away completely. If you have a co-parent who is always on the attack, they are going to stay on the attack, however, if you are empowered, their interest in you tends to decrease significantly. The less reactive you are, the less they continue to try. So I have had to rethink and shift gears as I learn more about the issue from the viewpoint of the parenting consultants or parenting coordinators, and what works for you and what doesn’t and have changed my approach somewhat. I decided to stop collecting that data and had good reasons to stop collecting it.
One reason was that I did not get any good reviews. If anyone has had a parenting consultant or parent coordinator on your case, that makes sense. You would not expect to find anyone who knows how to manage these high conflict cases. But are there really no good ones? Typically, people are willing to take time reporting a negative, but rarely will report a positive. I’d like to find out there are some good ones available, but it did not look like anyone would let me know that aspect.
Another reason I quit collecting data is because people are afraid. They are not going to turn in that information unless they know me and trust me. Let’s face it, those of you in high conflict cases involving a PC just do not trust anyone. You end up wondering where the information goes and who does it go to and worry that you may not stay anonymous? My clients do learn they can trust me, and that I am not “one of them (PCs)” so through my daily work I can learn who the good and bad PCs are. Again, no good PCs to report, but if you had someone who actually decreased the conflict, why would you be looking for a website, blog or coach to tell that story to? Most likely, you would just go about living life, quite happily, I might add. I still like to hold out hope that there are some out there.
Since I no longer collect information about PCs, I want to share with you a website where you can write a review of your parenting consultant, parenting coordinator or parenting time expediter. It has been around for a while, but the owner of the site is not really going through those court issues anymore, from what I understand, and so I don’t think the owner does much with the site anymore. That makes it harder to find when searching on the internet. You can help move it up in the searches by adding reviews. The reviews are listed as a Parenting Time Expediter directory, but most PTEs also work as PCs.
For anyone who wants to write a review of their court professional, please do so on that directory site. I think it would be an excellent resource for parents who need to choose a PC or PTE, whether the first time appointing one, or if the old one has left the case and they need to appoint someone new. If you have anyone to report on, please do it at:
I hope that we can raise awareness about that site so that people can come away with options for who to appoint and not to appoint. Remember, it is important to share who the good guys are. It’s not just about the bad guys!
- by lifesdoorsmediation
- in Co-parenting Classes Minnesota, Coparenting, Coparenting Help Minnesota, Coping, custody, Dating, divorce, Divorce classes, Divorce Classes Minnesota, Divorce Education Minnesota, Ex Spouse, Family Court, Fear, High Conflict Diversion Program Minnesota, Life's Doors Mediation, Mediation, Parent Coordinators, Parenting, Parenting Classes, Parenting Time, Relationships, Triggers, Trust, Unhealthy Relationships
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I have an announcement to make! Life’s doors Mediation will be moving to a new location as of March 1, 2014. As you may know, in March of 2013, I joined the Circle of Healing Arts Cooperative, and moved to Coon Rapids. There were many great things about this move, but some were not the best for my clients or my plans to bring the High Conflict Diversion Program to Minnesota.
This winter has absolutely stunk, to put it mildly, and crossing the river can be especially challenging any day, but this winter? Almost hopeless. You had to be extremely motivated to drive anywhere this year! Thank you to those willing to make the journey to Coon Rapids for class.
There have also been expansion plans for me and others in the co-op, but the building we are in was starting to fill up. It has left me without very good options for my classroom.
I love the people at the Circle of Healing Arts so this has been a difficult decision. Still, what I want to offer to my clients and students made me decide it was time to change, sooner, rather than later. I am a go getter and will do what I need to do to keep things moving forward for me and my clients. You need help and I will bring you options. I hope that Life’s doors Mediation becomes known for not only mediation and coaching, but also as a great place for education for families. I have a lot of information to share with you!
As of March 1st, I will be back in Brooklyn Center. Not in my old building. This one is just down the road a couple of blocks from there. This will be an exciting move. I cannot wait to show you all the new classrooms there! This place used to be a college so it is all setup for what I need and better able to accommodate my students more comfortably.
I may even be moved in earlier than the first. Keep an eye out. Once I get settled in, I will be making changes to the website and this blog.
I hope you will join me when you need mediation, coaching or classes that help you move forward toward your goals. I do not have anything listed yet, but working on a class for Adult Children of Alcoholics, which is another area of my expertise.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to call 763-566-2282 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
- by lifesdoorsmediation
- in Being punished, Coparenting, Coparenting Help Minnesota, Coping, Court Authorities, custody, divorce, Divorce Education Minnesota, Ex Spouse, Family Court, Fear, fighting, Life's Doors Mediation, Parent Coordinators, Parenting, Parenting Consultants, Parenting Time, Relationships, Toxic Relationships
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Things appear to be happening all across the nation with regards to the unconstitutionality of many things concerning the Family Court System. Pennsylvania has banned Parenting Coordinators (Called Parenting Consultants in Minnesota). I have shared that info with a trusted attorney looking into how that could be accomplished in other states, too. Michelle MacDonald has filed her lawsuit against Judge David Knutson in Federal court, and is also seeking relief from the US Supreme Court, asking that courts correct injustices as swiftly as they inflict it. And now, we have Louisiana asking questions about court jurisdiction in regards to property matters. It is all very intriguing, but leaves this write feeling very hopeful about a new future with the way family courts decide divorce and custody matters, or more accurately, how they pass off and fail to do anything these days, leaving parents and children in limbo, or at the mercy of a third party court authority with now rules and a whole lot of power over parents and their children.
This one snuck by me. I did not realize that New Jersey has also banned PCS! It is coming folks. A new kind of freedom. I hope it is in time for some of you to get your children back so you can repair the damage done, like what happened to this parent and this parent.
As you may or may not know, I wrote a book that was self published last year, “The Parenting Consultant Nightmare”. I have recently had some attention regarding this book. Last Saturday, Michelle MacDonald, asked me to give a talk to her non profit Family Innocence, about my book and how it came to be. My talk was well received. The event was video taped so as soon as they get it up on the Family Innocence website, I will cross post it here. I will also publish the speech on my blog, so stay tuned. Some lawyers and a Judge are reading my book right now. If you’d like to buy a copy, it is available on Amazon and Kindle.
Keep an eye out boys and girls! It is just a matter of time. Can you feel it? Miracles do happen and prayers do get answered!
- by lifesdoorsmediation
- in divorce, Divorce Education Minnesota, Family Court, fighting, Good Guys, Healthy Relationships, Life's Doors Mediation, Parent Coordinators, Parenting, Parenting Consultants, Parenting Time, Relationships, Single parenting, Toxic Relationships, Unhealthy Relationships
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Little Birdy Told Me that Susan Carpenter who wrote “The Parenting
Consultant Nightmare” will be at …
Family Innocence Flies to Burnsville on February 1:
Keeping Families out of Court: resolving
conflicts & injustices peacefully
SOCIAL EVERY FIRST OF THE MONTH!
Saturday, February 1, 2014
14201 Nicollette Avenue
Food & Beverages provided by Morgan’s Tavern and MacDonald Law Firm, LLC
This month writer/mediator
Susan Carpenter reveals the backstory
about her new book
“The Parenting Consultant Nightmare” http://www.LifeDoorsMediation.com
Family Innocence Singer/Songwriter Joshua Hare Appearing
THE DATE! ~ Family Innocence Socials
Every 1st of the Month~ SAVE THE DATE!
For more details Call Family Innocence: 651-783-5878 or email
501 (c) (3) non- Profit
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- by lifesdoorsmediation
- in Abuse, Abusive Relationships, Bad guys, Being punished, Bias, Child Abuse, Co-parenting Classes Minnesota, Coparenting, Coparenting Help Minnesota, Coping, Court Authorities, custody, divorce, Divorce classes, Divorce Classes Minnesota, Divorce Education Minnesota, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, Ex Spouse, Family Court, Fear, fighting, High conflict consulting, Life's Doors Mediation, Parent Coordinator Training, Parent Coordinators, Parenting, Parenting Classes, Parenting Consultant Training, Parenting Consultants, Parenting Time, Physical Abuse, Relationships, Single parenting, Systems, Toxic Relationships, Unhealthy Relationships
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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Ever thought you might need to get a parenting consultant or parenting coordinator appointed to your high conflict custody case? Do you wonder what a parenting consultant or coordinator is? What they do? Would you like to hear from people with first hand experience in utilizing someone in the role of PC? How much do parenting consultants charge? Can you get rid of a parenting consultant? Why does the parenting consultant hate me?
All this and more can be answered if you attend my web even Q & A about parenting consultants and coordinators. If you have read my blog and considered conflict coaching, but were a little leery of this person who also offers services as a parenting consultant, now is your chance to check me out. At a cost of only $10, you can get a sample of what I offer to my coaching clients. Many of my clients deal with a parenting consultant or parenting coordinator and have learned how to turn things around. If you were to spend 3 hours coaching, you’d pay $150, which is still a great deal. Consider how much a retainer for a lawyer might cost, or how much a day in court will cost you? Maybe coaching can help, and save you money in the process. But on January 11th at 10 AM, you have a chance to ask your most pressing question about parenting consultants/parenting coordinators and you can also hear questions from the other participants, too.
I have scheduled this event for 3 hours so that every participant should have time to ask a question or make a comment. If by chance, we run out of time, I will have a way for you to ask a question behind the scenes.
I hope you’ll join me for the first Q & A about parenting consultants/parenting coordinators. Remember, I also have a book out called, “The Parenting Consultant Nightmare” so it is fair for me to say I wrote the book. I have utilized a parenting consultant with my own family and have trained as a pc who tries to do it better. Let me know if this is something you’d like to see offered on going, or make suggestions for future web events from Life’s doors Mediation by sending an email to email@example.com.
Buy your ticket now!
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- Leavers vs. the Left from lessonsfromtheendofamarriage August 1, 2017
- Thoughts From High Conflict U August 1, 2017
- Trouble With a Parenting Coordinator? July 11, 2017
- Free E-Course: Parenting Time Expediter vs Parenting Consultant-What’s the Difference June 9, 2017
- Living Rent Free in Your Head September 4, 2015
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