Divorce and Co-parenting Support, Education and Information
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Check out our new location at:
The Golden Valley Professional Building
1710 Douglas Drive N., Golden Valley, MN 55422
If you want to schedule mediation, get support with divorce or are trying to work through a difficult co-parenting, high conflict custody situation, please contact Susan Carpenter at Life’s Doors Mediation, firstname.lastname@example.org, 763-566-2282.
When I started my journey to help parents, the goal was to save them from the confusion I knew they felt and to make their journey shorter and less painful than the one I had walked. I felt called to be a guide, a teacher and provide comfort when I could. I never promised to have all the answers. We are all human, after all. We need that higher power. We need to believe in something greater than ourselves. We need hope that there is much more to the journey than our current situation. We need hope.
I spent the time of my story all alone. I was alone because I could not find anyone else who really understood. I started out scared and alone, just me and my two boys, but I did ask God for help. I did not think he was helping so I quickly dismissed God and searched for someone or something else. When I did that, there was nothing but me and the prison I was building for myself.
When I was finally tired of my lonely misery and found no one else who understood or had real knowledge I turned back to God and found he was always there. He had never left me. I was simply refusing to see him, to hear him and to trust him. When I gave in to what he was doing, my life changed. I was freed from a prison that really only existed in my own mind. The door had always been open for me to walk through.
I was blessed and I wanted to share that blessing, that peace, that freedom with others who were held captive in their imaginary prisons. I wanted them to see what I finally saw. The door to your prison is already open. You simply have to walk through it!
I went on to walk a new journey of helping parents escape the pain of divorce and high conflict custody battles. Those who are open to change receive great rewards. I share with them the secret to conquering Family Court and painful relationships.
While I am a mediator, parenting consultant, and parenting time expeditor in Minnesota, and I enjoy that work to a degree, those roles offer limited success. Results depend on the good faith of the individuals involved. The success or failure comes from the skills and abilities of the parents themselves and their desire to escape their own prison.
What I really enjoy is teaching. It is in the one on one work that I do where I see dramatic results for parents. It even works for high conflict families. How wonderful it is to see fear and anxiety replaced with peace and confidence and to see that spill over for children. Parents living peace and confidence are able to offer so much more to their children than are parents who struggle with pain and trauma. Pain and trauma will not help you find your way out of a paper bag! Pain, trauma and the stress of a journey through the darkness of family court, leaves you stuck. Fumbling and stumbling because you aren’t aware of your true power makes you rely on professionals to light the way. What you do not realize is most of the professionals don’t know the way either. Even if they do, the professionals will not light your path for you. They are trying to show you where the light is. You have to take it. It is not the lawyer’s job to teach you. It is not the mediator’s job to teach you. It isn’t the parenting coordinator’s job to teach you. In some cases, I have made it my job to teach, but I can only do that in the one-on-one services I provide. I’ve decided that will be my main focus in this coming year and beyond.
I will show you the way and offer guidance, but the work is up to you and you alone. It is not easy, but you can free yourself and your children from the pain and trauma of Family Court and High Conflict divorce. Even when your co-parent keeps inflicting more and more control, financial hardship and fear on you, there are ways to expose their attacks for what they are and find peace for your own house.
The goal of our the programs offered at Life’s Doors Mediation is to clue you in to what you do not understand so that you can free yourself from a narcissistic ex, a bipolar co-parent, toxic co-parenting and really understand why it is you feel so trapped. We also share with you the truth about Family Court professionals. Why don’t they seem to know what they are doing? Why don’t lawyers help you? Why don’t parenting consultants seem to care about domestic abuse? We have programs that are specifically created to help victims of domestic violence. Check out our program, Victim in the System.
You have nothing to lose! If you have tried everything else and found no help, why not try something new in this New Year? Pick our brains as to why your situation seems so backwards and upside down.
While Life’s Doors Mediation can only provide mediation, parenting consulting and parenting time expeditor services to parents in Minnesota, our coaching and educational programs are without limits. We can assist anyone in the United States, or even the world, to move beyond the prison of Family Court. You owe it to yourself and your children to try something new! It is always a free consult. What have you got to lose?
When I wrote my book, “The Parenting Consultant Nightmare”, I knew that because things can change so quickly in Family Court, the book would need to be updated from time to time. I have tried to figure out how to keep parents updated on the latest trends in the world of Parenting Consultants or Parent Coordinators, and how to work with the process more efficiently. I have decided to offer low cost E-Books that you can download, for the latest information. These will be on a variety of topics to help you understand how to minimize the effects of on-going court battles, and move your family away from Family Court Case Managers, and back to at least one parent. It is not easy, but it can be done.
My latest E-Book, “Updates on the Parenting Consultant Nightmare-Therapy, Parenting Coordinators and Family Court” is now available through E-Junkie. Click on the Buy Now button above if you’d like to purchase it. You can also buy it through my Life’s Doors Mediation E-Book webpage linked below.
If you’d like to be notified when a new Ebook is available, please enter your email on my E-Book web page.
I hadn’t really given too much thought to “the right of first refusal” until a client showed me the Liz Library article about it a few days ago. I often recommend the Liz Library for a reference because the articles are insightful and linked to research on the topics, and my client found the article because of a post where I referenced the Liz Library. I had not really contemplated this issue before.
My opinion on the Right of First Refusal is that one should not give it to the other parent without asking for the same right in return, and I do still believe that to be a wise move. In your own case, you should always discuss that with your lawyer, of course, but I’d be surprised if any lawyer would not think it should be reciprocal. That is about as far as I’d ever thought about it, mainly because if a parent asks for it, a Parenting Coordinator or judge is likely to give it. It is one of the tools in their arsenal to encourage co-parenting, and so they usually will use the tools they have. That is my take on all things Family Court. You would not be there if it wasn’t about co-parenting difficulties, and the Family Court loves their toolbox.
Do I think that the right of first refusal is a good thing? No. As with anything in double edged sword land of Family Court, it could be a good thing, but it can also be used as a weapon by the controlling, vindictive ex spouse. Is your ex spouse trying to gain more parenting time by way of the right of first refusal? Probably. What else might they hope to accomplish by it? Control, control, control, and engagement, engagement, engagement. They either hope to ensure they are informed about everything you are involved in when you either would not or could not involve the children, or they are trying to create another reasons that you will need to contact them. On its face, the right of first refusal makes sense. A child should be with their parent when a parent is available to care for the child in the other parent’s absense. In most cases, it is better to have a parent with the child before involving a third party. Too bad we don’t look at that with legal custody, huh? I digress. This is why it is hard to say if it is a good or bad thing. It is both. What I mean by that is when it comes to a high conflict family, odds are that it is a bad thing. It will most likely increase the conflict, and become more problematic than it is worth. For the cooperative, low conflict divorced family, it would be a good thing. The problem is that the right of first refusal is typically sought by high conflict parents. A cooperative family is neither going to ask for the right of first refusal, nor will they need to have it written in a court order. For the low conflict divorced family the right of first refusal is an automatic thing, or they trust the other parents judgement on who they will choose to leave the children with when they cannot be available and don’t fixate on such trivial things.
Any of these tools really are remedies for high conflict families and no one else. Truth be told, no one should ever call them tools, as much as they should call them weapons. It is just a sad fact. There is a reason why your family cannot manage co-parenting. There is a reason why I am not a fan of co-parenting in high conflict situations. I understand that the circumstances that create high conflict cannot be fixed by court ordered anything, and that most court ordered things are more problematic than they are worth. Unfortunately, when remedy is asked for by one party, court authorities have to offer you some kind of remedy . If it were up to me, the courts would first determine if there has been a problem, for example, is the other parent leaving the children in someone’s care frequently? The court should make that determination before they try to resolve a problem that doesn’t exist. In other words, they should make sure there is a problem before they offer a solution. the reality is that court authorities don’t generally think that broadly. They should also look at the dynamics of the family from which a parent is asking for a remedy, and if the parent is using things to control or punish the other parent with, they should not deliver any more weapons to the equation. This is why I continue to oppose the one size fits all, cookie cutter approach that is used in the Family Court System.
The courts don’t know much about High Conflict and what exactly drives it. This is why they are ill equipped to offer remedies to it. The court authorities continue to make the same mistakes that parents make when it comes to high conflict divorce. I would coach the court authorities in the same way that I coach parents. Less is more. Court orders aren’t working? Why add more? A parent getting more information on the other parent increasing the conflict? Why give them more?
What the courts should keep in mind is that they really do know some of the accusations that come out of high conflict divorces. The accusations that come are abuse, alcoholism, drug use, mental illness. If those accusations are coming, they may never be able to prove any of it. That is a fact with how the Family Court operates. They aren’t really looking for evidence of anything if you have joint custody, but what they could do with the accusations, is to know that you are likely a high conflict case and remedies don’t provide solutions in the high conflict divorce. Instead, they provide weapons. In the way that they would allow a cop to have a gun, but deny a psychopath a gun, the right of first refusal works great for the well intentioned good guys, but in the hands of a bad guy, the right of first refusal will be a dangerous thing. The Family Courts need to start determining that in the high conflict family, one parent is a bad guy. Even if they don’t want to put in the work of determining who the bad guy is, they need to acknowledge that there is one and take a less is more approach. They should not offer remedies that can be used as a weapon. Period. They only need to recognize that there is at least one bad guy involved.