Parenting consulting is is an effective intervention that can minimize parental conflict, reduce stress on children, and stop continued litigation. Essentially, it is a combination of mediation and arbitration around family-related disputes. A parenting consultant is a specially trained professional, agreed to by the parents and then court ordered, to help them resolve parenting disputes, manage their parenting plan, and improve communication. The parenting consulting process is neutral, non-confidential, and focused on the best interest of the children.
A parenting consultant has three roles:
- Coaching: the PC will work with each parent on how to approach their former partner and identify methods for resolving disputes.
- Mediating: these discussions include traditional issues such as parenting time and holiday schedules, but can also extend to much more specific issues and disputes, such as holiday and vacation times, school choice, appearances of children, extracurricular activities, etc. The parties and the consultant talk through these issues, in a manner similar to a typical mediation, and try to reach an agreement. It is not rare for even the most conflicted parties to reach agreements with the aid of a Parenting Consultant.
- Decision Making: if an agreement cannot be reached, the PC is tasked with coming to a decision regarding the specified conflict between parties.
There is a similar process called Parenting Time Expediter. The judge can appoint a Parenting Time Expediter over the objection of the parties, however, a Parenting Time Expediter has fairly narrow authority over parenting disputes.