A Parenting Consultant has essentially three functions—negotiation, coaching and arbitration of parenting issues.
When appointed as a Parenting Consultant, we begin by meeting with both parties together. This meeting is administrative in nature and serves to explain the Parenting Consultant process, schedule appointments, familiarize the PC with background information, describe the children involved, and establish an agenda of items to be addressed. If either parent is uncomfortable with a joint meeting, he or she may discuss these concerns with us before the appointment.
Subsequent meetings may be conducted with both parents together; each parent alone; and may also include meetings with the children, new spouses or significant others. These meetings take place in the Parenting Consultant’s office. Sometimes it is possible to proceed by phone, e‐mail, or with written correspondence.
Parents will always have the opportunity to make agreements that settle their disputes. Parents are in the best position to make decisions about their children and will be assisted in doing so whenever possible. However, as Parenting Consultants, it is our responsibility to make recommendations or decisions when parents are unable to agree. Even though Parenting Consultants facilitate negotiations, there is no confidentiality of information such as that provided in mediation or psychotherapy. All communications with the parents and others the Parenting Consultant has contacted are subject to disclosure among parties. Statements made to the Parenting Consultant by the attorneys and parents may lose the protection of the attorney-client privilege.
A Parenting Consultant is a neutral party, and therefore we do not take cases in which we have any conflict of interest or bias toward either parent. However, it is part of the job as a Parenting Consultant to develop opinions about what best meets the needs of children and to advocate for their best interests.