Parenting Facilitation & Parenting Coordination

Parenting Facilitation and Parenting Co-ordination are services offered to parents to help them find ways to work together during divorce situations.  The therapist works with the parents to find ways to help their children during or after the divorce.  The therapist may also help parents work together to resolve disputes regarding the children and co-parenting; Parenting Coordination is a confidential process, but Parenting Facilitation is not.  Services are offered by mutual agreement but are frequently ordered by the Court.  

Parenting facilitation is a resource for Texas families who need help resolving disputes, conflicts, or any other family issues caused or exacerbated by a divorce. Specifically, it is meant for families raising children between homes, in which the issues arising from a divorce have affected a child’s relationship with one or both of their parents, or vice versa.

Many families experience distress during the course of a separation or divorce. However, in some families, that conflict continues even after the divorce is finalized. Divorced parents may have conflict over many issues, including areas that are not explicitly defined in a parenting plan or a Court Order. When they do, children often feel caught in the middle. Repeated exposure to parental conflict and the experience of being torn between parents may put children at greater risk for emotional and behavioral problems – e.g., poor school performance, anxiety, uncontrollable anger, and depression.

Parenting facilitation offers professional help to parents who want to learn to work together for the sake of their children. It utilizes a child-centered dispute resolution process that is facilitated by a trained, neutral third party (or “parenting facilitator”). Through this process, the parenting facilitator helps parents develop and implement workable parenting plans, as well as action plans to reduce or eliminate the conflicts between them.

What Does A Parenting Facilitator Do?

The main goal of a parenting facilitator is to help parents reduce the level of conflict and distress that their children are exposed to. They do this by guiding conversations toward solutions rather than fighting and recrimination. Often, parents who have been through a divorce have grown accustomed to fighting with each other, and have trouble communicating without doing so. A parenting facilitator can help parents shift from “litigation mode” to “cooperation mode”, giving them the space and the tools to come to lasting agreements on points of conflict.

According to the section of the Texas Family Code that outlines parental facilitation, a family facilitator will:

  • Identify disputed issues
  • Reduce misunderstandings
  • Clarify priorities
  • Explore possibilities for problem solving
  • Develop methods of collaboration in parenting
  • Understand parental plans and reach agreements about parenting issues to be included in a new parenting plan.
  • Comply (and facilitate compliance) with the Court’s Order regarding conservatorship or possession of and access to the child.
  • Implement parenting plans
  • Obtain training regarding problem solving, conflict management, and parentig skills
  • Settle disputes regarding parenting issues and reach a proposed joint resolution or statement of intent regarding those disputes.

In the service of these goals and these duties, a parenting facilitator may:

  • Review written and recorded evaluations, testimonies, and reports
  • Interview individuals involved with the family about the family dynamic and areas of conflict
  • Meet and communicate with both parents
  • Help parents develop new parenting plans and agreements to be filed with the Court (including ensuring that these agreements are recorded in writing and signed by both parties and their attorneys)
  • Encourage and facilitate communication and agreement between parents
  • Write status reports
  • Consult with other professionals involved in the case
  • Attend hearings and testify in Court

Parenting Co-ordination is a similar process but it is confidential.  Information is not disclosed from the sessions. records cannot be subpoenaed and the Parenting Coordinator cannot be called to court, give testimony, etc.

For Counselors to be able to serve as a Parenting Coordinator or Parenting Facilitator they have to be a Licensed Counselor, a Family Mediator and complete a Parenting Coordinator/Parenting Facilitator Course.  

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