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Parenting Plan Evaluations at the Counseling Corner

Dr. Ernest W. Reilly, LCSW is a Parenting Plan Evaluator and Parenting Plan Consultant. Dr. Reilly is also a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, Parent Coordinator, Licensed Therapist, Parenting Coach, and an expert in working with divorces and coparenting. Dr. Reilly completed his doctoral dissertation on assisting divorced coparents and he brings his over twenty years experience in assisting divorcing and 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 parenting plan evaluations process situations.

As a Parenting Plan Evaluator and Consultant Dr. Reilly uses his understanding of childhood developmental issues, healthy co-parenting, and how to help co-parents navigate all the difficulties of divorcing and divorced life to help co-parents and their families find solutions during the divorce process. 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 and parenting plans for their children. In addition to providing parenting plan evaluation services himself, Dr. Reilly is also often used as a specialist and consultant to help parents review parenting plans already or in the process of being created providing guidance as an expert in children, teenagers, parenting plans, effective coparenting, and problem solving strategies for divorced coparents./p>

About Parenting Plans and Parenting Plan Evaluations

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 separating from their former spouses, but they will remain tied to one another through their children, thus facing the challenge of coparenting for years to come. An effective parenting plan evaluation process and the creations of a useful parenting plan can help reduce conflict, decrease tension, appropriately plan for the future, reduce the expenses of costly legal and court battles, and provide a healthier process for families and children.

A Parenting Plan is required in all cases involving time-sharing with minor child(ren), even when time- sharing is not in dispute (Florida Supreme Court). A parenting plan is part of a separation agreement between two divorcing parents. This plan becomes the rule book and addresses many important issues and potential pitfalls so both parents know what to expect and opportunities for conflict, misunderstandings, and difficulties resulting from unmet expectations can be reduced.

A good parenting plan does all these things and provides both parents and their children with increased predictability, consistency, and stress reduction. A good parenting plan sets out the expectations, rules, time-sharing schedule, and a vast array of protocols and arrangements for the child(ren). The plan helps parents avoid conflicts arising from a lack of these rules, expectation, protocols, & guidelines in dealing with responsibilities related to providing for their children.

When no agreements exist around these areas disputes can frequently arise and court litigation and family mediation may be needed thereby increasing tension, stress, turmoil, and expense for the parents. It is therefore very advantageous to have a trained professional and expert in children help you and your spouse create your parenting plan.

The hurt, anger, and sense of injury experienced during most divorces will often impair or reduce the functioning of the divorcing individuals, their children, and families. The divorce process often impacts each individual's parenting, coparenting, professional work, and social functioning. Research demonstrates that it the inter-parental conflict that is most harmful for the children and the adults during and after a divorce. With approximately half of all marriages ending in injuries of this kind, the problems facing divorcing parents are substantial. Having and expert in children and parenting plans guide you through and help you create your parenting plan by helping both parents find agreeable and beneficial solutions to parenting responsibilities and parenting struggles can often help reduce these problems.


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