what do you think your kids are seeing right um when your kids are older what sort of relationship would you want your kids to have with their partner because they’re watching you [Music] what’s up coronation welcome to another episode of coin for thought today on this episode I’m Jenn again Jennifer Barkin is on the show again and I am so excited because we are going to be talking about all things parenting parenting plans parenting coordination and really defining what those terms mean so thank you so much for being on the show and educating us about this I’m so happy to be here thank you for having me back yeah it’s great I you know what I I find that now um I find in my world right now there’s a lot of people that are getting divorced with younger children right uh people are realizing hey you know what um I can’t have my children in this environment this environment is really toxic for my child um you know say for example if there’s a toxic parent I don’t want my kid to be like essentially following in the steps of this toxic parent I need to remove my kid from this situation and you know uh it’s that whole term where it’s like um happier individually better apart you know what is that what’s up with that okay so that we’re better we’re better parents when we’re apart than when we’re together right because when you have a house that has a lot of conflict right children are so smart they pick up on these vibes so even if parents are not fighting or arguing let’s say mom or dad move down to the basement and there’s now suddenly sleeping on the couch and we’re not having family dinner together anymore or you know mom’s going out every night her dad’s going out every night and the parents are never in the home together at the same time because it’s so icy the children pick up on that and what’s interesting and I speak to a lot of people about should I stay or should I go and I’m not going to tell people what to do but I’ll ask them those questions that’ll help them sort of think right so that’s part of my coaching practice and some of those questions are going to be um what do you think your kids are seeing right um when your kids are older what sort of relationship would you want your kids to have with their partner because they’re watching you they’re watching everything so parents will say also well you know I’m just going to wait until my children are in high school or until they’re in university and they’ve left the nest and that’s when we’re going to do this right and I’m going the kids have picked up on things all of these years and interviews with children later on they’re like my parents should have done this years ago right yeah now seeing that I mean you speak to kids and most kids and even in the worst abusive situations will say you know if they had a wish it would be for their parents to be together but that wish includes differences right that my parents would love each other that they’d be friends um but not the way but if they had to choose growing up in this icy cold environment or where there’s a lot of conflict or a lot of fighting or having parents that are apart living you know in a more peaceful environment they’re like my parents should have done this earlier I don’t know why they waited so parents think they’re doing the kids a favor but they’re not I agree with that because you know I grew up in a very hostile environment and it took a toll on me growing up and um you know I know my mom was thinking about like I can’t leave this relationship I have a young daughter right but at the same time I felt like like it’s because it’s the control as a child you don’t really have control over these two adults in your lives right so you’re essentially facing a lot of the consequences to what’s happening in their relationship and the back and forth and you’re getting affected by it so now let’s just say you know people are deciding to leave one of the big things that you know a lot of people get nervous about especially moms right and I I know that you know the courts are listening more to dads and all of that right because dads want to be more involved it’s not just default mom anymore but there’s always that concern how is it gonna gonna work if we separate and then what’s gonna happen to the schedule of our children how are we gonna manage ourselves with having like one two three whatever the case is how are we gonna manage ourselves so I want you to define what’s the difference between parenting plan and parenting coordination okay so let’s start with parenting plans when parents are separating whether they are common law or marriage couples couples that have children together they need some sort of blueprint some sort of roadmap for how they’re going to take care of the children moving forward meaning when they’re not together anymore and from both sides there’s a lot of fear right and that’s another reason why people stay together we stay together for the kids um I would say um and that this is not from research but people don’t go into a relationship or have children together to say you know what I want to be a part-time parent one day that’s where the difficulty comes I work a lot helping people with their emotion understanding um not being with your children full-time does not mean you’re not a parent all the time so in english if my children are not with me um let’s say this weekend I’m still their mom right but people have a hard time just getting past that right and then there’s the fear I’ve been working with the client for a while now of he’s afraid to leave he’s thinking she’s going to hate me and she’s going to poison the children against me and maybe I’ll just stay so that doesn’t happen even though I’m not happy that’s very common that’s very common it’s not fear that the children are going to be poisoned and a lot of times too and I always tell clients you know my clients I was like do you not get your kids involved into the nitty-gritties of your legal stuff and your financial stuff it’s none of their business but sometimes kids especially ones that are older that are teenagers they’re very intuitive they can kind of see what’s going on they formulate they catch little pieces of conversation and then they fill in the blanks you know and that can be so damaging a lot of times maybe a parent doesn’t have somebody to talk to or they’re just angry they’re voicing things out loud yeah kids are hearing that or they’re speaking to the children about hey you’re your dad’s an [ __ ] he did this and that or how dare blah blah blah and that’s that’s huge right or here’s a letter I had a client that where her spouse showed letters from lawyers um to their teenage children and that for me was I was like wow I believe behavior of parents bringing their kids into these conflicts and showing them the legal um mom says that we have to sell the house because of dad and I’ll say what do you mean because of dad well you know um daddy said mommy showed me and it’s like okay these are just things that you don’t do so a lot of it is explaining to parents they have one mom they have one father okay you guys may have made a really bad decision by deciding to get together in the first place right okay and choosing to separate is your choice but your children did not choose any of this right right and what we do know is if the kids are not brought into the conflict and the parents protect the children in that way these kids grow up fine right when the kids are dragged into this you see more depression you see alcohol promiscuity drug abuse all sorts of things as they age right so there’s that saying love your children more than you hate your ex right not telling you to love your ex you don’t have to like them but we got to move this relationship to a co-parenting relationship and one that’s not of an intimate partner relationship where you can just you know the way you speak to your husband or wife we now move it we treat you okay children of the business we want the business to do well so this is how we communicate now please thank you a little more formally um non-accusatory um just focus on the kids but we’ve gone off track so parenting plans what’s a parenting plan yeah and is a parenting plan needed for children that are teenagers that often you know have a say in which parent they want to stay with and what they want to do they have their own lives in their own schedules that they would like to follow they have comforts that they also are holding on to as their world is changing they’re like my neighborhood my friends I walk to the bus with this person or oh my gosh like I meet my friends after school here or you know people come over to my house every sunday and do whatever you know so as they’re kind of holding on to their world as like the world around them it’s crumbling how do how do parenting plans work for teenagers and and do they work for teenagers should we do them for teenagers okay so I’ll just explain quickly a parenting plan if you think of it a blueprint of how parents are going to co-parent the children moving forward and in that parenting plan are so many different things the two number one major things are the decision making for children is it going to be soul decision making is it going to be joint decision making and decision making has nothing to do with the time you’re with your kids it’s really just decision making on the health care the education and the religion right so then there’s that second big part which is the parenting time when your children are physically with you when they’re with you um so that’s when we get to the schedule but in addition to those two big decisions there’s how are holidays going to be spent um what’s going to happen if I want to leave the country with my child I’m going to need a notarized letter how am I going to get this notarized letter um what’s going to happen with um who can be around the children um is there somebody that shouldn’t be what if I can’t take care of the children during my parenting time should there be something called the first right of refusal meaning before I call in the troops my mother my father a babysitter that I will offer my co-parent hey I have the flu or whatever can you help me out parent can say no because everybody has a life you might not be able to but first right of refusal means you offer that time first so there’s so many things that go into this parenting plan and the real purpose is um well number one for child support we have to know the children’s residential schedule because that’s going to impact the amount of support um that’s payable but to keep parents out of conflict like if people haven’t decided on things it’s amazing the things that come up and when things come up and then there’s conflict where parents cannot agree upon that’s when I’m getting my lawyer I’m getting my lawyer I’ll see you in court etc etc right so really this is let’s keep conflict away now if people are getting along well um for example you and I are soon to be ex-spouses we have a parenting plan for our two twin boys I’m going to be jeff now and I’m not wishing this on you it’s never going to happen but anyway anyway um and our parenting plan says well Nicky Nicky has the boys for the christmas school break the two weeks um during the odd years and Jennifer has them Jennifer aka has them during the evening years and he says um I won some trip to Disney world can we switch this year right a good co-parent is going to go absolutely why not like it doesn’t matter what the parenting plan says at this point you take him this year and I’ll take him next year but when there’s a lot of conflict um and parents aren’t in agreement it’s very simple to say you know what go to class 14 b page six of our parenting plan this year the children are with me right so you’re not always having motions and letters going back and forth so it’s a good tool to keep things moving smoothly for families I see now what is parenting coordination parenting coordination um firstly parenting coordinator might be retained by parents when there’s already an existing court order or an existing parenting plan and for whatever reason things um are not working parents are not abiding by what they have to do generally these are families that they were pretty volatile um anyway it was a tough divorce a tough separation and they come to some sort of agreement whether it’s in a court order again or a parenting plan but things are not working so um it might be you’re supposed to pay this percentage of the daycare and this person’s not paying for it or um the holidays you’re not abiding by what you’re supposed to be doing but for whatever reason they cannot communicate well together and there may be a lot of nastiness going back and forth so the children are actually getting pulled in the middle right there’s you know this one’s poisoning the kids against this parent this one is not um allowing the children to come for my parenting time I go to pick up the kids and they’re on their gaming systems and I’m just gonna say mom is saying oh sorry this one has a headache so this parenting plan that’s been in existence it’s it’s not working so the parenting coordinator is a person who’s normally has a mental health background also has a mediation background so can mediate high conflict situations that would be brought in by the parents to help them hey help us out because we’re not doing well right and we need somebody involved so it is something that falls under the adr umbrella which is alternative dispute resolution it’s voluntary so you can’t force people to see a parenting coordinator or retain a parenting coordinator I am seeing though um more orders now saying if this isn’t working the parents will seek out the help of the parenting coordinator but the parenting coordinator is voluntary um both parents split the costs of the parenting coordinator services equally because that maintains the parenting coordinators neutrality so it’s not like oh she’s siding with her or him because that’s he’s putting the bill here and if people sign up with the parenting coordinator the parenting coordinator can educate so how is this affecting your children or what’s best for kids at this developmental age um the parenting coordinator will try to get people on the same page the parenting coordinator if that’s not really working we’ll bring them to mediation to see what’s driving this conflict usually with conflict it’s not what I’m saying to you there’s all these other underlying hurt anger whatever so we’ll work through that but at the end of the day the parenting coordinator has the rights of an arbitrator okay and is trained a trained arbitrator an arbitrator can make legal binding decisions it’s essentially a judge but outside the courtroom so you know you’re not going to google the names and case number whatever comes up um but it’s a very powerful role to be an arbitrator saying that there are two places where a parenting coordinator cannot arbitrate and those are changing the amount of time um the amount of parenting time a parent has with the child so um you down the road say you know what john you’re uh you know the kids are really parked on the couch and you’re not feeding them properly so I’m going to take away the time a parenting coordinator cannot do that um the only way to reduce time and it’s not an easy thing to do is somebody’s going to have to um either self wrap import or retain lawyers to help with this and to ask for a motion to change to change the amount of time but a parenting coordinator schedule is not working so as children grow a schedule may not be working the original parenting time schedule right um let’s say it was originally a 2-2-3 a very popular one well that can work for little kids you know it’s two days one parent two days the other parent three days with the other parent as kids get older well firstly it can get confusing which parent am I at today I have to check the calendar um I want to be signed up for gymnastics on Thursday but I never know if I’m with mom or dad and dad won’t be able to drive on this session such day or um there’s this activity at school and I can’t even sign up because I never know where I am so it might not work and that’s when you know if parent I might have a parent that’s stuck and go nope this schedule is good for me I don’t want to move it but it’s not really working for your child um so the parenting coordinator can come in and go I understand what I’m seeing is you both the 50 that’s what’s important and I can’t change that anyway but there’s other ways of doing 50 and here are some other things that other families do that work for them right so um we can change the times and the days uh but the other thing I cannot change as a parenting coordinator is who has the decision making so what I’ve been seeing is people get worn down and may have given let’s say the other parent soul decision making and then years later when they’re in parenting coordination it’s like I’m not consulted or you know and they’re very very angry about this decision and that’s not something that I’m able to change now these people who are with the parenting coordinate coordinator are generally very high conflict so their communication has been pretty horrendous as far as if I say you always right and just throwing shade the parenting coordinator will put them on what’s called parenting app so something like our family wizard is a popular one it allows all of us the parents and me to be on this app and to monitor the conversation so that’s a way that I can teach parents how to communicate post-separation and divorce that again I cannot um they cannot say things to one another this is part of the reason you’re getting into trouble with one another and you’re not getting cooperation because look how you’re speaking to one another so I can teach those skills of communication and how we communicate as a co-parent rather than as a former spouse so this wizard is a recorder of conversation so our family wizard um and I’m not piping them as far as not getting any money from them or anything like that um but really it’s probably the best one to use it has and this is their terminology a built-in tone meter so in other words parents are sending text to one another and the tone meter it lights up red if this is inappropriate so I’m calling you by you you may want to think that before you press send right um it also has calendar so all the scheduling can go or I can upload things so my child made a pretty picture in preschool today and I want to share with my co-parent but it’s also a record of all the communication all the conversations um some of the American courts for years have actually used it for evidence um I’m not a lawyer so I don’t know really what they’re doing here as far as that because we’re not where they are um but it’s a very good record you know I I always say you know the the higher conflict you are the more expensive your divorce is going to be so if you get along things are going to be easier the more you get along the more easier it’s going to be the cheaper it’s going to be right because how much does a parenting I assume that it’s paid by the hour right a retainer a retainer so how much is the like a general retainer how how are parenting coordinators paid what is the range of I assume that there’s a range different ranges what’s the range of a parenting coordinator okay so it is this is not a cheap process by any means and the overall cost is really going to depend on the family um and what I mean by that so at the beginning people are going to sign up usually it’s a two-year contract and that’s really um to get people committed to the process right and the reason for the retainer is that somebody’s getting angry all the time so you know yeah and when people are spending money they’re hopefully going to be a little more cognizant of maybe we don’t have to keep doing this I’m sending this and doing this and this because it’s going to rack up that bill and my retainer’s going to run it right so what’s going to happen with the parenting coordinator so let’s say generally a two-year contract right of let’s say 20 hours at 300 an hour okay so a lot of money you split that there’s your retainer and everything it’s every email every um phone call every meeting and it ships away right so if you have somebody that’s being very high conflict and starting to abuse right because I don’t care I just want to like make their life miserable um I’ll get a warning I’ll give a warning and then after a while you’ll start to okay I’m gonna have to attribute this cost 100 to you because you’re just like with this nonsense you’re not listening you’re not doing the things you need I will send people out for maybe some mental health therapy or coaching because just sometimes they just can’t get out of that space and it’s just ringing up a bill like this and that’s not right to the other party either I want to hope that a parenting coordinator is like the end the end all but you know what if a parenting coordinator says whoa like I’m trying my best and all the time and things are still not working and so what are the what are things that a parenting coordinator does at that point when they’re like I’ve tried all these things and these people are just being so ridiculous and they just can’t come together and we have a file like that right now yeah um which right from the onset you know this is just I’ll give you a few examples right one um father feels that children um have a free-for-all at mom’s house in a free-for-all meeting the kids aren’t going to school the kids are sleeping in the kids are on game systems all night um they’re not showing up to my house she’s not making them come she’s showing up to my house unexpectedly going in my house taking things et cetera et cetera okay so we have a couple of things going on number one boundaries right stay off this person’s property okay you can’t just go into their home okay absolutely not right and cameras and accusing of stealing in all kinds of garbage but it’s still going on okay so telling her not to not it’s not happening call the police right what am I going to do here um and as far as children not going to school and not performing um there’s a lot of history with these particular children mental health history um predominantly mental health history um even prior to all of this separation stuff um some learning disabilities etc etc so now I’m going to draw my mental health background and with when it comes to children I don’t or anybody I don’t like to make assumptions right so an assumption would be um this parent’s not doing parenting properties and these kids are just flat out refusing and running wild like other parents says and I’m going to look at this history and say aha so I have this going on I have this going on so my first question is going to be something like the last psychoed report psycho educational report I see was done five years ago these are the ages of your children ideally psycho-educational reports when um if parents can afford to do them should be done redone every three years and why is that because certain things that they can test for so for example if I have five-year-olds little kids um I may yeah there’s ADHD that we’re seeing that but uh let’s say a higher level um learning disability in this area isn’t going to show up because the child doesn’t have the language or the reading people that I have five is they should not but if I would do this to say have these some same tests done on a nine-year-old uh-huh now this is showing up and this showing up so I like to know first is there anything else going on that is impacting right what are the ch should this child be sent to therapists just find out what’s going on right right because I don’t want to start going to a parent well clearly you’re not doing what you need to do and this is all your fault right I want to know let’s see what’s going on and then we can figure out so this family right it’s flat out refusal one parent says yup let’s get this done and the other parent there’s an excuse I see excuses well I can’t afford therapy in some cases that can be true right but I have one and the woman’s a teacher and I’m like help me to understand so you work for the the school board you have one of the best benefit packages around this is not coming out of your pocket so explain right this is not making sense so sometimes um you know it’s like anything else I can put these recommendations forward but if people aren’t taking them and they’re just going well the judge said we gotta do some parenting coordination and I’m just going along with it I showed up right but they’re not taking anything into consideration this is going to be a mess so either one I’m going to have to arbitrate mediate and then ultimately arbitrate and then after the ad of somebody’s a lot of body they’re gonna have to go to court yeah yeah and it you know it’s so expensive right so more expensive than than you know you working with your parenting coordinator it’s so expensive and the reasons are I mean the general public will think okay I have this problem I’m going to get my day in court and we’re done right but the court system is a process so you know before you get your day and it might not be a day in court how long is this trial going to be and a family law lawyer would speak better to this than I would um but generally depending on the issues is this a two-day trial is it a five-day trial you’re paying for your lawyer’s time right right and they’re not just backward but all that prep time um beforehand you know whether it’s the letters and the preparing of motions and facts etc etc so this all adds up all the disbursements every photocopy every email and depending on your lawyer’s hourly rate as well which in Toronto um I know lawyers are 800 an hour I know lawyers that are 300 so that’s going to impact but people don’t just go to court you know first we’re going to have a case conference of course then we’re going to have maybe a settlement then we’re getting conference then a trial management conference then and it can take a long long time so maybe a year maybe a year and a half maybe two years maybe two years yeah right so what happens in that time to conflict it’s getting worse and worse and worse and if a parent is you know poisoning a child against the other parent or a child refusing to visit the other parent it’s getting worse and worse worse so parenting coordination can help in a way that this might take a long time even if you want to go to court to get to that can we get any of this resolved so that things don’t continue to tank and who’s at risk here the kids the kids yeah yeah and it’s you know it seems it seems silly that people would refuse because you know part of you know child care really is is you know if your kid needs something in terms of mental health or whatever you know you’re in a high complex situation with your spouse or ex-spouse at least the priority should be them supporting them in every way possible making sure that they grow up to be contributing um sane members of society right because it’s so damaging the conflict is so incredibly damaging and you’re right like you don’t know how kids are gonna take that all in I’ve I know adults right now that had um you know parents that got a divorce it wasn’t really even high conflict but it was really damaging for them right so even now they have so much trauma from the stress of that divorce and that divorce wasn’t a high conflict divorce so different kids take it all in different ways and you know and especially when there’s high conflict it’s it’s worse right and you don’t know how your kid’s gonna turn out you don’t know what you’re gonna do and that’s just silly you have benefits use those benefits to be able to support your kids that’s what benefits are for right and you know if you have to get an assessment the assessment may cost like three thousand dollars or five thousand dollars something like that right uh to get an assessment but then but then you’re not essentially spinning your wheels on the day-to-day with your kid because you might be trying certain things with your child and that might not be working and your you might be so frustrated but they probably have a learning disability or they probably need a certain level of care and if you just understand that and you educate yourself on that uh parenting for you is going to be a lot easier you know because you can give them the support but you can also have that understanding sometimes it just takes someone else to be able to do an assessment to be able to educate you and then it just clicks oh that’s why they’ve been behaving like this this is why they’ve been reacting like this this is why you know I’ve been sitting down with them and having them and doing homework with them but they’re not getting it and we’re faculty you know this is why it’s because their brain works in a certain way or something else is going on okay this is maybe it’s the wrong information that they’re not meant to be processing because it’s way over their level and it doesn’t matter that kids of the same age are learning the same things right so that also is so important it’s so important to understand that about your child right so um so I very much connect with that what are um a lot of questions uh that you get you know about parenting coordination or uh generally parenting plans what are um usually things what are the first questions that people kind of like come up with you know to ask you okay so with parenting plans um people want to sometimes know um can I get this or can I get that and I always say well you guys can decide between you as mediator my role is neutral right so if you’re on very different pages my role will be to find out um what are you scared of why are you angry why are you stuck in this place um I might offer um ideas right so I’ve had other families and very similar this is what this one’s done this is what this one’s done this is what this one’s done so these people may go I never even considered that or knew that that was a possibility to or we may come up with some sort of hybrid thing of this works and this works so let’s put this together right so mostly schedules like the first thing um but people will also ask can I as I said can I get this and it’s like you’re gonna have to get some independent legal advice on this because I can speak under what’s called the shadow of the law meaning very general but not particular to you um how much child support well that’s a bad example how much spousal support would I get right um I can print out divorce mate as a mediator and I can show them okay so here’s what it says there’s a range it’s a midterm marriage and etc etc child support’s being paid so there’s this range this is low the mid the high but I can’t say things like okay you know you would get the high amount for sure and you would get 15 years of this I cannot right I can bring people to agreement by let’s discuss this let’s talk about what you know we would stay at home mom during the marriage let’s say and would you save it away from your career for 10 years so if you haven’t taken that time off where do you think you’d be in your career and how much would you be making and I might say to the other person right so um you started here I think about 10 years and now you’re here and who made dinner and you drove the kids to school and who took the kids to activities and did homework with them um there is compensatory support so an acknowledgement that the other person should be compensated right does that make sense to you do you want to get some legal advice around that issue so those are you know number one support and time with kids those are the number ones but then we get into all the holidays and how communication and this person how am I going to co-parent with this person because um they don’t listen to me or they parade me or whatever it is so a parenting plan can have very clear expectations for communication um will the communication but with the kids be open so my kids can contact me anyway anytime do I need some boundaries in this with my co-parent so for example um how quickly I have to respond to non-emergency email right do I need these will the parents be communicating on a parenting app um who’s going to look after holding on to the children’s id and getting things like passports and renewals and how are you going to share in the cause and so many so many things so um some parents come very prepared and they’ve looked on the web and they have found examples they’ve spoken to family and friends and you know even I have a client right now who’s brought me to parenting plans from other people you know we like this and then you read through and yeah okay um this this you don’t think I’m very prepared and have an idea and there are other people that like why do we need this in the first place can’t we just decide on things and you can but right um number one they’re going to have to have something if they want to get a separation agreement um how these kids are going to be co-parented it has to include the child supports could have to include the parenting time and decision making so you’re not going to be able to ever get a divorce if you don’t have this right um or a separation agreement that’s big divorce um but people will say well you know why do we get along why do we have to and I’ll say I would love a magic wand where I could predict everything in the future that might come up but what if one of you remarries and now your kids don’t like his kids or her kids and your kid doesn’t want to go so what a parenting plan can happen it are some dispute resolution causes so things like what if there’s a major change of circumstance what are we going to do and it’ll name them it’ll listen um you know and it could be illness of the parent unless it’s a child like if I’m all of a sudden disabled and I can’t care for my children what happens in the same way right um I got hit by a truck I got taken down by covet I don’t know um somebody remarries um the parenting plan says well we’re going to live close to acts of school um because this is how we’re spending time both parents houses and um parents can do this but now another parent gets a job transfer somewhere else so just resolution plus we’ll cover these sort of things so first we’re going to talk we can’t get to an agreement we’ll see the accredited mediator within I don’t know 30 days prior to commencing or proceeding so there’s all sorts of things to keep things running smoothly this thing is moving forward and with parenting plans I call them a living agreement really the best ones because as I say I don’t know my five-year-old but my 15 year old is going to need right right and you asked me a question earlier about if my kids are high school age why do I need this right um so there’s things you may want in there um is there going to be a voice of the child where the children decide um what their schedule is going to look like and who they’re going to spend time with it that’s all going to um affect child support um child support people think ends when kids are 18 not necessarily it could be until the end of the first degree that’s something before university college um something that we see quite a bit now um and even holidays like if I have a 14 year old and you want Christmas Eve at grandma’s and the other parent is going no no I want this well now what you don’t want to go into your children and be going so what do you guys want to do because kids are going to be saying to each parent maybe what they want to hear what each parent wants to hear and that’s not the real story they’re telling both of you what you want to hear so you’re not getting the truth and you’re dragging kids into your conflict so I don’t care if these kids are six if these kids are 12 or 13 we never want to bring kids into potential conflicts are really wise words um I have say a client right now who’s in a situation where she did most of the parenting and the father was very much away he was a traveler he worked abroad he barely like the kid doesn’t even know their dad right and now they’re trying to get a divorce and even after they got separated she left for a bit uh overseas to stay with her family for a little bit took her son and now she’s back and the big concern is that oh my god if we have 50 50 uh what’s gonna happen my kid is going to be in a situation where they’re going to be staying with a stranger um okay how old is this how old are the child’s child under five okay so that’s where that child development piece first has to come in right is this in the best interest of this child this particular child right so now child with a stranger I can think of all sorts of things so the child probably has an attachment to mom doesn’t know dad very well is this really a good idea now we’re playing devil’s advocate right we have a diagnosis willing and wants to be more involved with his child excellent right but this is where the problem comes so what are some creative solutions to fix this right yeah I mean if I was mediating with this couple I would talk about you know changing a child’s world upside down overnight even though you mean well right and this is something what and I can I recommend the other parent like this is excellent that you want right this is really good because I believe I believe children in the best scenarios have a good relationship with both their parents that moms offer children different things than dads do right so um you get different things from both of your parents to become a well-rounded person and you have a doubt who’s willing to be involved and maybe couldn’t and let’s think of why couldn’t maybe he had to travel for business and that’s what paid the bills and that’s what kept the child in a certain right it’s not I didn’t want to be with you right so it helped mom understand that let’s say it’s not that he didn’t want to it wasn’t feasible at that time but things have changed but going back to this child so maybe I understand dad wants to get to 50 50 right mom this is hard for you because you’re hip for all these years um have you guys considered something like a graduated schedule or a graduated parenting plan so that we’re not doing this to the kids overnight right so what if we begin with visit right um short time right etc um and there has to be some therapy for the child the child didn’t know the father let’s say of who this is I would bring in a child therapist or body to play therapist um before any of this would take place so graduated so then we can work some therapy and get where child is ready to meet father and then maybe have let’s say uh dinner time or whatever with dad so now that’s not a stranger right there would be a lot of screening both of them to see that there’s some mental health issues or any concerns of safety because look at this child pretty much a stranger um but let’s say that’s going well so then we might come back and review in a couple of months how are things going maybe introduce some more um parenting time right so maybe a Saturday or a Sunday another review like trying it overnight right so and then another review and maybe more of it too with this expectation that the idea is that both parents acknowledge that children or child here should have um an excellent relationship with the other parent and that they will both encourage it but to meet that child’s needs right we’re not just going to go okay one week with this stranger here and while we care we can build it up right so last question and I know that a lot of people have this question most of my clients have this question then and there’s always you know one parent that’s more involved with the child usually in relationships you know for that for my relationship that’s my husband right he’s the one like dropping the kids off to school um you know and catering his work schedule really around the kids schedule um but for me I can’t do that right so I’m not often there to give the kids uh a good night kiss you know every night you got the mama guilt I know I’m I’m busy right I’ll work with you on this like no but look at all these other things you could gain your children gain from you right and it’s actually not the time I call it working mom guilt right yeah but say for example jeff and I are looking to get a divorce right and his big concern I know but you think this is an example um now we have to we say okay great we’re going to split time and then in his mind he’s like okay well Nicky’s schedule is not going to change she’s still going to be as busy as she’s going to be she’s still not going to be able to drop them off to school she’s still not going to be able to pick them up and like take them to jiu jitsu and gymnastics and swimming and doing all that she’s still not gonna be able to spend time with them so she’s gonna have to hire somebody or maybe get her mom or another family member to be able to support her and then why am I getting like potentially shafted from like time with my kids so I can give my kids to their mom who’s not even present and not even there because she has work to do and she’s always been like this right so how is something like this really handled right especially in it it’s especially for parents that also travel right it’s like okay I have time with the kids now but like crap I have to take a last-minute flight okay okay so so how’s it handled so as a mediator right so now here’s both people this is what they want we know we want 50 50 right and I’ll be working with them to understand this is what this has been history um how can things be different now so that you can be present or that you can be and sometimes people haven’t really thought things through they just know I want this so very gentle but is this feasible right is this feasible are there changes that you can make to make it feasible right um why are we caught up in the 50-50 is this really to do with I feel that if my children aren’t with me as much as they’re with him that my relationship won’t be strong as strong is it a child support thing because oh if I get people think if I get 50 50 then my multiple payment goes down not necessarily because if one parent people don’t know if one parent is making well less money and the other parent has a very high income um the child support there may still be a payment because you know because it’s to even out the homes um so the children are living in a tent in one house and and the other right yeah so it’s figuring out that really having parents understand what’s going to work and maybe and I see a lot of it and one parent’s getting angry about this too um because they’re threatened that now we’re separated and we’re divorced we were never around um when this we were married and now suddenly you’re able to do this this myth so I see I have um one father right now who has actually taken a new job the pay is actually very similar but the hours are better and now he’s able to be hands-on and mother’s like no this has been my role but it’s just a really hard pill for a lot of people to swallow that marriages are systems okay this was the way your system family says scary 101 this is how your system worked okay jeff did the grocery shopping jacket dinner Nicky did this that whatever but now you’re apart and guess what a new system is born so it changes things right if you have a parent who’s willing who’s able and who can um just because this happened isn’t necessarily what’s going to happen right so what would you do with this family okay so we acknowledge that this may not be feasible or if it is why it isn’t somebody may again need some help with some counseling or coaching of getting to that place understanding that yeah things are changing in every way and it feels like I’m losing control but I got to be child focused you know is this person capable a lot of times I’ll hear no they’re not they’re not capable whatsoever but let’s see right let’s see what’s going to be um voice of the child’s clauses things like that just understanding that things are constantly going to need to change none of us have a wall none of us know we think we’re making the best decisions for the children today but stuff changes yeah well Jenn thank you so much for coming on the show this is all such great information and I know that it’s going to help so many people that are listening right now because it’s really insightful there’s a lot of terms that we talked about that people don’t really even know or ever heard of and um you know they didn’t people don’t really go into divorce really understanding what it entails and what options there are right which is kind of like a huge reason why I do the show because it brings on like say for example parenting coordination oh that’s actually an option if we are in a high conflict situation we can’t talk to each other and it’s so easy for me to turn around and be like oh just get along right you know for me it’s like I want to be able to protect the money I don’t want people to be spending money I’m like oh just get along but it isn’t so simple right never simple I mean there’s so many things and that’s another show but you know has there been abuse in this relationship um let’s talk about hurting affairs um let’s talk you know domestic violence which coercive control financial control not just hitting kicking spitting punishing right there’s all these underlying things and reasons why things are not you know let’s say the friendly doors well I guess you’re gonna be back so talking about those I love talking to you Nicky thank you so much for having me thank you so much for coming on the show Jenn well thank you guys for watching if you’d like to work with Jenn definitely check out the link below I will also link our previous episode so you can catch up on that and learn more about what she has to say bye everyone have a great week until next week see you then you