Parenting Consultant

imageChildren learn by observing and copying the people around them. How parents manage their children's lives from two households can be as important to the children's ultimate development as the parenting time schedule that is set out in a decree or order.

In general, current research on custody indicates that the following factors support children's adjustment to living in two households:

1. Adequate time with each parent.

2. Developmentally appropriate schedules.

3. Cooperation and flexibility between parents.

4. Support by each parent of the other parent's relationship with the children.

5. Focus on children's needs instead of adult issues.

Sometimes parents are unable to reach or carry out agreements necessary to provide those circumstances for their children. The next best option is prompt resolution of problems so that the children's lives are not disrupted and the children do not worry about or become involved in the parents' disagreements.

For some conflicted parenting relationships, it is helpful to work with a third party who has the task of facilitating discussions toward agreement and if no agreement is reached, deciding the issue. The facilitation phase of Parenting Consulting is like a mediation. The decision-making phase is like an arbitration.

There are two such roles available in Minnesota — a parenting consultant who can assist with all parenting issues except change of custody and child support — or a parenting time expediter who can assist with parenting time schedule issues. While the two options are similar, they are not exactly the same and the differences might make a difference for your situation.

I am Deborah N. Dewalt, a Dakota County attorney who can assist you in developing a strategy to address ongoing parental conflict, which might include use of a parenting consultant or parenting time expediter. I can help you work effectively with a parenting consultant or parenting time expediter, because I have experience serving in both of those roles. Contact me to schedule an appointment.