Individual Associate Services


Mediation is a process in which the parties to a dispute (the inability to agree on a solution to a conflict) select a neutral individual to assist them in their discussions and attempts to negotiate a resolution of the dispute. The person chosen to be the mediator usually has special expertise or experience in the matter being contested. In the case of matrimonial and family conflicts, mediators are usually lawyers specializing in family law and/or mental health practitioners specializing in the unique parent and child issues of marriage, separation, and divorce. Both lawyers and mental health professionals receive special training to do this type of work.

The goal of mediation is to settle the dispute, and to settle it in such a way that both sides believe that, although not perfect, the agreement is in the best interests of the children and "good enough" for both sides to live with. The process requires that the parties are open to resolving their difference via compromise rather than "winning." Couples seeking mediation must make a decision about the level of confidentiality they will adhere to. In this respect, mediation is decided to be either "closed" or "open." Where closed mediation is chosen the mediator will not voluntarily disclose to anyone who is not a party to the mediation, anything said or material submitted without the consent of all parties. In addition, the mediator cannot testify in court and the entire content of the mediation process is not admissible in court. Where open mediation is chosen, the parties agree that the full disclosure of both the process and content of the mediation may be made available to all parties, counsel, and the court. The mediator may also be called upon to testify.

Mediation has increasingly gained in popularity as the foremost dispute resolution method turned to as an alternative to court room litigation. It is frequently faster, less expensive, certainly not as formal, and often results in less of an adversarial atmosphere. Of course, not every conflict can be successfully resolved via mediation. In these instances the parties may then turn to arbitration or choose to go to court. If the parties do reach an agreement on some or all of the issues, the mediator will prepare a Memorandum of Understanding (parenting plan) with respect to those issues agreed upon. If the parties fail to reach an agreement, no report will be written. In our experience, couples who resolve their differences via mediation tend to walk away from the process with a better mutual relationship than those who engage in a traditional court proceeding.

Mediation Documents



We offer Mediation/Arbitration services with respect to parenting issues.

Mediation/Arbitration is a process in which a neutral professional first attempts to assist the parties in the resolution of their dispute through mediation. If the dispute is not resolved, the Mediator assumes the role of Arbitrator and has the authority to making a binding decision. This decision or award becomes as enforceable as a Court Order.

Combining mediation and arbitration offers parents a time efficient and cost effective process for resolving disputes. What is attractive to parents is the opportunity to first attempt settlement on their own, and to be able to narrow the issues, should they be unable to come to full resolution. Parents have suggested as well that they like the fact that the professional who ultimately makes the decision knows them and has a good understanding of issues related to the children.

Mediation/Arbitration Documents



SFPPC is an evaluative mediation process and while equivalent to a child custody assessment, it is an alternative. It is conducted by parenting plan consultant (PPC) who has the combined experience of a mediator and child custody assessor. This is a hybrid model that is more expedient and less expensive than a child custody assessment, while also preserving the mediation principles of self-determination. SFPPC is distinguished from a "mediative assessment", where an assessor conducts a comprehensive assessment and then assists the parties to mediate a resolution. In a SFPPC, the traditional facilitative and interests-based mediation, with an emphasis on self-determination and confidentiality, is combined with an evaluative process that provides parents with expertly gathered information that may be used in creating a parenting plan that meets the children's best interest. The SFPPC typically costs about half of what a child custody assessment typically costs and can be completed in 4 to 6 weeks, a much shorter time that it takes for most assessments to be completed.

Settlement Focused Parenting Plan Consultation Documents



This is a comprehensive family assessment by a qualified and experienced mental health practitioner which evaluates the individuals needs of the child in relation to the abilities of each parent and the quality of family relationships. The assessment typically provides information related to and recommendations about the most appropriate residential schedule for the child and the most appropriate structure for making child-related decisions. This assists the parents and judges in deciding on a plan that is in the best interests of the child for the particular family. These assessments are often helpful when: other methods of dispute resolution have been unsuccessful and the parents continue to have very different views of the best parenting plan; or there are very serious concerns about the child and/or the parenting ability of one or both parents.

The assessment involves an objective, structured approach with information gathered from many sources and through varied methods. Information is gathered from clinical interviews, parent-child observations, collateral interviews/reports, psychological testing, review of court material, etc. The process usually involves a 3-4 month period, and is not confidential as information is shared with counsel and the court. For more detailed information about parenting plan (custody) assessments, please refer to...(our other link here).

Parenting Plan Assessment Documents



Parenting Coordination is an alternative dispute resolution service for high conflict couples. A Parenting Coordinator (PC) is usually a mental health professional, although lawyers and mediators sometimes perform this function. Regardless of profession, the PC must have experience with and knowledge of separation/divorce, high conflict families, child development, parenting time schedules, family systems, family violence, conflict resolution, arbitration and relevant legislation and family law rules.

Parenting Coordination Documents



Coaching is a profession that promotes excellence within individuals and groups by facilitating learning, engaging untapped potential, and supporting effective action. Coaches:

  • Help people set better goals and then reach those goals.
  • Ask their clients to do more than they would have done on their own.
  • Focus their clients better to more quickly produce results.
  • Provide the tools, support and structure to accomplish more.

Coaching is a form of consulting. But the coach stays with the client to help implement the new skills, changes and goals to make sure they really happen. Therapy. Coaching is not therapy. We don't work on "issues" or get into the past or deal much with understanding human behavior. We leave that up to the client to know and figure out while we help them move forward and set personal and professional goals that will give them People hire a coach because

  • They want more.
  • They want to grow.
  • They want it easier.

It's as simple as that. Coaches help a client get all three. Quickly.

Coaching Documents



For Parents:

We, as experienced mental heath professionals, provide advice and guidance about a variety of issues related to separation/divorce at any point during the separation process. This includes advice about how to tell your child about the upcoming parental separation and how to assist the children in the separation/divorce process. This also includes obtaining advice and information about children's reactions to divorce, and the dispute resolution services that are likely to meet your family's individual needs.

We also address issues related to higher-conflict situations: such as providing advice about how to help a child who is alienated from a parent, or who is caught between the parents, assisting a child who shows distress/symptoms at transitions between parental homes, how to communicate with the other parent, and consultation about divorce disputes. Unlike counseling or coaching, the consultation process is typically a very short-term intervention that is informed by the clinician's experience, training and knowledge of the literature in this area. It is also a confidential process.

Parent Consultation Documents




Consultation services are also provided to other mental health professionals and legal professionals. The professionals at Family Solutions have knowledge of the separation/divorce process, dispute resolution, child development, and high-conflict issues, and can assist other mental health professionals and lawyers in evaluating and planning strategies for their own cases. For mental health professionals, knowledge about, and clinical experience with high-conflict divorce in particular may assist in planning and working with these challenging clients and families. For lawyers, knowledge and experience in the spectrum of divorce situations may assist in strategic planning and evaluating options for their clients.


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