School for Social Work
Divorced parents-Counseling of, Joint custody of children, Dispute resolution (Law), Conflict management, Parenting coordination, High conflict divorce, Alternate disputes resolution processes
Parenting coordination is an innovative alternative dispute resolution process that assists separating or divorced parents who are deadlocked in high levels of conflict. The primary aim of this process is to reduce conflict between parents in order to support healthier child adjustment. Parenting coordinators (PCs) assist parents in disengaging from their couple relationship and replacing it with a co-parenting relationship that enables them to continue to effectively parent their children in a cooperative, if not a coordinated, fashion. This cross-sectional descriptive study investigates PCs' perceptions about the process and the families engaged in it with them, based on a sample of PCs (n= 18) and families (n= 98) with whom they worked. PCs completed a survey about their closed or recently inactive parenting coordination cases. The present inquiry contributes to gaps in our knowledge about this emerging area of practice for social workers and other mental health clinicians, as well as attorneys. Results indicated that parents in this sample were highly educated, middle-aged, White and only a small number had diagnosed mental health issues. Contrary to existing literature, parents in this sample were not perceived as having significant psychopathology. The rate of personality disorders and substance abuse in this population were low. The majority of PCs did not interview children as part of the process; however results indicate that interviewing children is possibly related to parents' goals being met. The differences between this sample and results noted in the few other similar studies, as well as the implications for training social workers on diagnosing personality disorders and developing the skills necessary to effectively interview children are discussed.
Callahan, Elisabeth N., "Widening the lens : a snapshot of parenting coordination" (2012). Masters Thesis, Smith College, Northampton, MA.