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Parent Coordination at The Counseling Corner

Dr. Ernest W. Reilly, LCSW is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, Parent Coordinator, Licensed Therapist, Parenting Coach, and an expert in working with high conflict divorces. Dr. Reilly completed his doctoral dissertation on assisting high conflict divorced coparents and he brings his over twenty years experience in assisting divorced co-parents, children, and families as well as his extensive knowledge in psychological, relational, emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and family systems dynamics to help during these difficult situations. As a Parent Coordinator Dr. Reilly also uses his understanding of childhood developmental issues, healthy co-parenting, and how to help co-parents navigate all the difficulties of divorced life, to help co-parents and their families. He has extensive expertise in helping to improve co-parenting communication, assist in managing emotions effectively, regulating and reducing anger, and helping co-parents solve problems, reduce conflicts, and create healthier co-parenting situations for their children.

About Parent Coordination

For the last thirty years, the divorce rate in the United States has ranged between 40 and 50 percent(Clark-Stewart & Brentano, 2006; Gaulier, Margerum, Price, & Windell, 2007), and research indicates that the divorce rate is approximately 10% worse for second marriages (Engblom-Deglmann, 2009; Ganong, Coleman, & Weaver, 2002). With this level of marital dissolution, almost half of the children born today will experience the divorce of their parents (Hetherington, Stanley-Hagan, & Anderson, 1989), and because approximately three quarters of those who divorce will remarry (Amato, 2000), many children will experience more than one divorce during their childhood. Parents who divorce may be legally separated from their former spouses, but they remain tied to one another through their children, thus facing the challenge of coparenting.

The hurt, anger, and sense of injury experienced after most divorces will often impair or reduce the functioning of the divorcing individuals, their children, and families. The divorce often impacts each individual�s parenting, coparenting, professional work, and social functioning. Research demonstrates that it is the With approximately half of all marriages ending in injuries of this kind, the problems facing divorcing parents are substantial.

The families most severely impacted by divorce, however, are the approximately 20 percent of parents and children involved in high-conflict divorces (Gaulier et al., 2007; Maccoby & Mnookin, 1992; Malcore, 2011; R. Stewart, 2001). Without effective interventions, these couples will usually continue to battle throughout their children�s lifetimes resulting in years of poor coparenting and injury after injury to each other and their children.

Coparenting is an enterprise of two or more adults, typically parents, who take on the shared responsibility to care for and raise a child or children (McHale, 2007; McHale, Lauretti, Talbot, & Pouquette, 2002; McHale & Lindahl, 2011). In the 1970s and 1980s as more and more children began to be raised in post-divorce coparenting situations, evidence began to emerge that severe emotional and behavioral distress was occurring in the lives of these children (Emery, 1982; Hetherington, Cox, & Cox, 1978; Wallerstein & Kelly, 1975; McHale & Lindahl, 2011). However, in families where coparenting existed and parents worked well together and supported one another�s parenting efforts, the children�s functioning, development, and mental health were not as severely impacted, and children showed far fewer signs of distress (Bonach, 2007; Maccoby & Mnookin, 1992; McHale, 2007; McHale & Lindahl, 2011). Coparenting can make all the difference in the world for a developing child, and its absence can be devastating to that child.

Parent coordination is very effective option for high conflict divorce situations or parents who are struggling with significant co-parenting issues. Parent Coordination is intended to help reduce conflict, increase coparenting, and resolve parenting-related issues more effectively. This intervention is one of the newest effective approaches to address high-conflict divorces (Deutsch, 2008). This process is a court-ordered, child-centered, alternative, dispute-resolution approach that uses a therapist specifically trained and certified in parent coordination to help parents implement their parenting plan and coparent by facilitating the resolution of their disputes more efficiently (Carter, 2011; Gaulier et al., 2007; Henry et al., 2011). This approach is especially well suited for divorced individuals who have refused or have failed at other intervention methods and are experiencing a high level of coparenting problems.

This process simply requires either party to petition the court or attain a court order assigning a Parenting Coordinator (PC) to assist the parties in creating healthier coparenting situations, reducing toxic or chronic unhealthy behaviors, improving coparenting communication, helping coparents improve problem solving and find effective ways to help resolve issues and disputes. By improving these issues parent coordination is quite effective in improving the quality of life for both parents and most importantly for the child(ren).

If you are in need of Parent Coordination simply contact your attorney or petition the court and request the court assign Dr. Ernie Reilly, LCSW as your parent coordinator. Once your parent coordination is court ordered please contact the Counseling Corner to set up a time to begin the process with Dr. Reilly and we will assist you with the rest.


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