Co-parent counseling allows parents an opportunity to talk about the best interests of their children in a neutral environment and, when appropriate, to get input and advice from a professional who is experienced in working with children and families of divorce.
Issues ranging from custody schedules to day-to-day parenting can be discussed and parents can be kept ‘on track’ when their discussion begins to drift from parenting issues to personal/marital issues that need to be kept distinct from the best needs of their child(ren). Parents who are separated or divorced may benefit from co-parent counseling. Specific treatment goals vary according to individual needs but generally, it will assist in establishing agreements regarding a schedule for when children are to be with each parent, areas for joint decision-making, means, and frequency of communication between parents, and any other issues that require attention. Co-parent counseling may help one or both parents resolve some of their anger or grief related to the ending of the relationship so that both can focus more fully on parenting issues without the intrusion of “unfinished business” from the past. When parents are able to create and maintain a strong parenting alliance after separation, children have a secure base to depend on while they grow. Some families are able to easily maintain a strong alliance after separation and others need support to create or regain a stable co-parenting relationship.
Parents seek co-parent consultation at all stages of post-separation parenting. Some parents come in before separation to explore how to separate in a way that best supports their children’s needs. Others have been co-parenting for a while and want to strengthen their co-parent alliance, improve communication and decision-making, or reduce children’s exposure to unresolved conflict.