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CUSTODY/ACCESS AND PARENTING DISPUTE SOLUTIONS The following alternatives are offered as a continuum of services designed to meet the needs of families in a range of circumstances relating to resolution of parental conflicts. These options are designed to provide focused and limited-cost options for a variety of conflicted situations. The Court of Queen’s Bench has also developed a list of interventions in the family law Practice Note 7. We are able to undertake these assessments. Specific terms are dictated by the needs of the parties and the facts of each case. The terms, costs and process are defined in a retainer agreement signed by each parent. Funding for therapeutic interventions may be available through parties’ supplementary health benefits. Mutual Resolution Strategies Family Separation Counselling Suitable for cooperative separated parents who recognize the need for psychological intervention to address their child(ren)’s issues which may have resulted from family breakdown. Each participant (parents and children) is seen individually and then in a combination of joint and family sessions wherein issues and solutions are formulated. Alternatively, a single parent may obtain individual assessment of parenting skills followed by counselling and parenting skill building. Confidential – Average retainer 10 hours. Mediated Co-parenting Plan - Parenting Coordination Suitable for separated parents who are in conflict but are willing to develop a plan for co-parenting their children. Parents and child(ren) are interviewed separately to define disputes and preferences. Through a series of joint meetings the disputes are mediated and the parents develop a co-parenting contract that is equitable and provides the child(ren) with a secure, nurturing environment in both homes. The focus is on addressing the needs of the children. Confidential – Average retainer 12 hours. Clinical Dispute Resolution Designed for parents locked in dispute with conflicting definitions of the child(ren)’s issues. This process provides objective assessment regarding identified concerns as a basis for development of a mutual co-parenting plan. This may be formalized in a Consent Order with specific remedial undertakings on the part of the parents. Information may be released to the courts – Average retainer 15 hours. Step-wise Therapeutic Intervention  Suitable for parents who have failed to implement an effective parenting plan following a mediated settlement or court order. This intervention is designed to identify and address underlying dynamics which interfere with a healthy co-parenting relationship. This is an individually defined process designed to address specific problems and provides psychological intervention directed to the re-establishment of positive family interaction. Information may be released to the court – Average retainer 20 hours. Court Mandated Processes Developmental Needs Assessment Available in cases in which the needs of the child(ren) are in dispute or in which the child(ren)’s counsel requires consultation in this regard. Assessment is focused on discerning their psychological and developmental needs and requirements for the child(ren)’s healthy development. Does not result in Custody and Access recommendations. Average retainer 12 hours. Delimited/Focused Assessment Suitable for separated families in which the children are able to speak in their own best interests and the issues in dispute are defined at the outset. The scope of the assessment is limited to those issues which remain in dispute. Specific findings and conclusions will be reported briefly but no comprehensive custody or access recommendations will be made as this responsibility rests with the Court and/or the parents. The assessor is available for cross- examination in court. This is a specifically defined alternative to full assessment and can be particularly useful in cases where a child has expressed a residential preference or the parents disagree on a specific point. Average retainer 16 to 24 hours. Unilateral Parenting Assessment Assessment of one parent with focus on their psychological functioning and capacity to parent; otherwise, process is similar to a Bilateral Assessment. Does not result in Custody and Access recommendations. May be required in conjunction with an existing assessment of the other parent. Average retainer 20 hours. Bilateral Custody/Access Assessment Suitable for contentious situations or custody/access cases where allegations of child abuse (mental, emotional, physical or sexual) have been made or child neglect is an issue. This option provides a comprehensive psychological assessment of the parents and the children. The assessor provides recommendations regarding custody, primary residence and access terms based on parenting skills, risk factors and ability to provide a positive home environment. The assessor is available for cross-examination in court. The report is directed toward the best interests of the child(ren). This is an intensive investigative assessment process that provides recommendations developed on behalf of the child(ren) and as a service to the Court. Each parent participates equally in the process and any adult in a parenting role is included. Professional consults, educational personnel and collateral references designated by the parents are invited to provide information. Average retainer 44 hours. Court Mandated Dispute Resolution Requires court order and access to a Comprehensive Bilateral Assessment report. Process is highly structured and each step is reported to the court. Focus of the process is on modifying intransigent parental behaviours together with the identifying perceptions and beliefs which “trigger” recurring conflict. Skill development in communication, relationship and parenting is systematically provided. All parental interactions are monitored and debriefed. Average retainer 30 hours.
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