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How Can a Child Specialist Help?

May 12, 2015  | 

{3:48 minutes to read}  

We often use and hear the term “best interests of the children.” You would imagine that if applied consistently, the results would also be consistent, but that is not necessarily true. It all depends on the process used and who is making that determination.

Litigation

If you are in litigation, you might think it is the judge who makes the determination, presumably based upon applying case law to the facts before him or her. However:

  • The presentment of the facts is seriously impacted by the efficacy of the presenting attorneys; and

  • The applicable case law is brought to the judge from those same attorneys and the judge’s staff, again, making it subject to who is the better advocate or researcher.

And of course, this ignores the most paramount of issues, namely, why is the judge assumed to be a better arbiter of what is in your child’s best interests?

Attorney Negotiation

If you are in the situation where you have two attorneys negotiating for parties, each of them, as well as the parents, can have a very different standard as to what those best interests would look like.

Again, the result would be determined by which party is better at negotiating rather than any kind of impartial standard.

Mediation

Even in mediation, which clearly I advocate, you can have two well meaning parents who have different parenting approaches. Hopefully, they will reach an agreement that they both feel is in the children’s best interests, but that is not always possible.

At that point, I usually suggest the use of a mental health professional.

Child Specialist

Based upon the child specialist’s wealth of professional knowledge and experience, they can help parents determine what is best for the children. They can also meet with the children and provide a valuable resource for the family.

Working with a child specialist can be especially helpful when the children are infants or toddlers. The specialist can guide the parents to create a parenting plan that addresses the child’s developmental capability and accommodates the child’s differing needs as she ages.

Co-Parent Counselor

Another helpful specialist is a Co-Parent Counselor. This professional can be used during the mediation process or as a resource in the agreement if difficulties arise after the agreement is signed. They can:

  • Help parents build skills so they can co-parent most effectively and minimize conflict between them;

  • Help the parents determine how to tell the children they are separating;

  • Teach parents skills for addressing issues, such as a parent consistently being late for access times;

  • Teach parents how to effectively communicate with each other.

Even though we all have a basic understanding of the term “in the best interest of the children,” sometimes it is good to get some professional help when making that determination.

Have you used a mental health professional to help with your parenting plan? Feel free to leave your comments and/or experiences in the box below.
Clare Piro Attorney and Mediator

Attorney & Mediator
500 Mamaroneck Avenue | Suite 320
Harrison, NY 10528
Tel: 914.946.0848

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