David H. Ebaugh, MA,LCPC,CCDC,CEAP
BENEFITS OF USING A PARENTING COORDINATOR:
•Empowers post divorce, high conflict parents to resolve parenting disputes without returning to court repeatedly
•Focuses the parents’ energy on their children’s best interests, rather than on the protracted adult conflicts
•Reinforces the terms of the court ordered parenting plan
•Targets solutions, not problems, by removing current conflicts from the table immediately
•Coaches the couple to manage anger, hatred, vindictiveness and violence towards the other.
•Reduces costs and multiple legal fees by resolving the conflict through a single parenting coordinator with authority to educate, mediate or arbitrate issues arising from implement-tation of their court ordered parenting plan
•Gives older children a voice in deciding activities and schedules
Parenting Coordination Services
The Parenting Coordinator (PC) intervenes as educator, mediator or arbitrator to help high conflict parents function better together and resolve disputes out of court. These are divorced parents who typically have not made parenting decisions on their own, who have not complied with parenting agreements and court orders, who have not reduced their child related conflicts, and/or who have not protected their children from the impact of their conflicts. In cases where domestic violence and power imbalance are added to the above list, the PC intervenes as the enforcer of court orders and the insurer of the abusing parent’s compliance with the details of the court order. In all cases the PC also intervenes as a change agent. Through coaching and role modeling by the PC, both parents are expected to learn and to modify their expressed behaviors and attitudes to reduce family conflict and improve co-parenting cooperation for the benefit of the children.
The Parenting Coordinator as Educator
When the Parenting Coordinator (PC) is presented with a dispute, the first step is to encourage the parents to gather knowledge and information so that an informed decision can be made. The PC, as counselor, brings training, research data and a wealth of clinical experiences to the table which he shares with the parents who want to resolve their dispute. For example, if the research says that very young children
(0 – 24 months) need to see both parents frequently because developmentally they feel abandoned when they don’t, would that information be enough to change your demand to take the child on a two week vacation? If the answer is yes, the dispute is settled. If the answer is no, then we need to move on to the next step.
The Parenting Coordinator as Mediator
On the surface disputes often sound like they are about the children. But usually, with high conflict parents, the issue is really about one parent’s need to change the other’s behavior. In the role of mediator, the PC works to understand each parent’s concerns and helps to look for options and alternatives to resolve the conflict, in the best interest of the child, not the adults’. Both parents need to be flexible and willing to accept some of what is wanted and some of what is not, in order for mediation to be successful. Parents who do successfully mediate usually report a higher degree of satisfaction with their outcomes.
The Parenting Coordinator as Arbitrator
The court gives the Parenting Coordinator (PC) the authority to decide disputes which do not affect the court’s exclusive jurisdiction to determine fundamental issues of custody and visitation. Failing attempts at education and/or mediation, the parties specifically agree, and the PC is authorized by the court, to make decisions which are effective as orders and will continue in effect unless modified or set aside by a court of competent jurisdiction. The PC may make binding decisions regarding conflict areas which are defined in the Consent Order that establishes the working relationship between the parties, the PC and the court. The defined conflict areas are typically around parenting plan implementation and daily living issues.
Confidentiality and Parenting Coordination.
Parenting Coordination (PC) is a non-confidential case management process which means the PC is able to talk to family members, teachers, doctors, lawyers, and the courts, etc., regarding the case without a release of information. The PC is required by law to report child abuse and/or suicidal or homicidal issues to the authorities.
About the Parenting Coordinator:
David H. Ebaugh, MA, MAS, LCPC, CCDC, CEAP, is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in private practice at NEW PERSPECTIVES since 1990. His specialty areas include Parenting Coordination, Domestic Mediation, Couples Counseling, Chemical Dependency Treatment and Employee Assistance Programs. He earned a Masters Degree in psychology from West Georgia College (1975) and a Masters Degree in administrative science from Johns Hopkins University (1983).
Mr. Ebaugh is a seasoned, skilled and sensitive Counselor and Domestic Mediator. He is trained in the Parenting Coordinator process as well as mediation using the Transformative Framework. Mr. Ebaugh has served as a court appointed mediator (1999) and as a Parenting Coordinator (2008) for the Circuit Court of Carroll County, Maryland.
Mr. Ebaugh brings a unique and sensitive perspective to the table as he blends his mediation and counseling skills to help high conflict parents resolve their disputes. He helps his clients balance the inevitable tension between advancing their own needs and allowing or assisting the whole family to meet theirs.
When you are ready:
Contact David H. Ebaugh directly at 410/356-3344, Ext. 101, to discuss your questions. Or ask your lawyer how to install Mr. Ebaugh as your Parenting Coordinator. It can easily be done with a voluntary Consent Order, agreed to by the parents and signed by the judge.