Co-parenting counseling is a therapeutic service that can help individuals communicate effectively in a separated family or divorce to benefit the children. This service is not a magical quick fix but rather a process whereby parents or caregivers work with a trained mental health professional to learn how to communicate in a way that focuses on the best interests of the children instead of the conflicts between the parents.
Sometimes the co-parenting therapist will meet with each parent individually or they can meet with the parties jointly. The therapist may talk to the children to gain their perspective and help communicate the children’s voices to the parents.
Not every family is suitable for co-parenting counseling. For example, if there are serious allegations against a parent such as abuse or if the parties are in high conflict, co-parenting counseling may not appropriate.
Co-parenting counselors are neutral and do not make custody recommendations. However, sometimes they can weigh in on important terms that can be included in a custody order to encourage child focused communication between the parties.
While most insurance will not cover co-parenting services, some families may be able to use an employee benefit assistance program to cover some of the costs. If the parties seriously commit themselves to working toward healthy co-parenting with a trained therapist, the costs will typically be less than the fees incurred to litigate the custody case.
If the parties are able to work effectively with a co-parenting counselor, they will increase their chances of communicating positively and in a child centered fashion. This may even lead to the parents reaching private custody agreements that do not involve the Court.