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give rise to conflict. Thus through counselling, the parties can be aided to understand their respective contributions to distress and take responsibility to manage same. Further, the process can teach and Settling Custody and Access Disputes… promote better problem solving skills as well as communication skills and strategies. Agreements Court, Counselling, Mediation, Parenting Coordinator: achieved through counselling tend to be the most What’s the difference? durable in that not only do parents come to a solution between themselves, but also a new way of settling Parents who are separated need to sort out the ongoing matters as they arise so that greater problems are care of their children. Statistically, most do so between mitigated. themselves without any help or support from outside resources. However, not all parents are able to settle Parenting Coordinator: The Parenting Coordinator is matters concerning the ongoing care of the children and a highbred between the three above strategies. The thus turn to several different strategies to help them out. Parenting Coordinator is generally appointed for a term Each strategy has it’s own strengths and weaknesses: of service to resolve problems as they arise. Over the course of service, the Parenting Coordinator offers Court: Couples who turn to the Court are often locked guidance and direction as well as seeking to help the in the most contentious of differences. Each may seek a parties achieve agreements between themselves. very different outcome and believe they may persuade However, in the event the parties cannot reach an the Court in their respective favour and thus win their agreement between themselves, the Parenting position. Court is generally viewed as a last resort Coordinator is empowered by the parties to impose a solution. The Court will never be as intimate with the solution as per the Court. In stricter terms, this aspect of issues as will the parties and hence the outcome may the role is regarded as arbitration. A Parenting not be as finely tuned as hoped for. Further, the Court is Coordinator is generally a good solution for those not bound by the position of the parties and may impose parents who may continually find themselves in matters solutions that neither party is satisfied with. Lastly, of dispute on minor items with regard to an already Court imposed solutions tend to be less durable than established parenting agreement. The goal of the solutions derived by the parties themselves, with or Parenting Coordinator is to eventually work themselves without assistance. Court imposed solutions offer no out of a job by continually teaching and guiding the opportunity to resolve underlying issues or teach better parties to more reasonably resolve disputes between problem solving and communication skills. themselves. Mediation: Mediation provides an opportunity for Which strategy is best for any particular set of parents parents to resolve matters between themselves in the is subject to a number of factors including, the degree presence of a trained professional. In the most of cooperation between the parties, history of abusive traditional of terms, the trained professional is to act as behaviour and willingness to work towards a common the guardian of the process, helping parents to discus goal of better communication and cooperation in the matters in an environment that provides some degree of interest of the children. control over behaviour and content. The mediator may or may not express opinion as to the subject matter but Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW will seek to ensure the process and outcome is (905) 628-4847 balanced. Mediated solutions tend to be more durable email@example.com than Court ordered solutions given the intimacy with http://www.yoursocialworker.com which the subject matter is addressed by the parties and the fact the agreement is mutually achieved. Further, Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, while mediation may do nothing to resolve underlying Canada, consider him an expert on child development, issues, the process can model better methods for parent-child relations, marital and family therapy, problem solving and communicating to the parties. custody and access recommendations, social work and an expert for the purpose of giving a critique on a Counselling: Counselling as a strategy to resolve the Section 112 (social work) report. Call him for your next ongoing care of children carries the same positive conference and for expert opinion on family matters. features of mediation and is also aimed at resolving Services include counselling, mediation, assessment, underlying difficulties that may otherwise continually assessment critiques and workshops.
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