A “parenting time evaluation” is an expert investigation and analysis of the best interest of children with regard to disputed parenting time issues. The parenting time evaluation shall not include interim parenting time recommendations/brief focused assessment. The purpose of a parenting time evaluation is to provide the Court with information it may consider to make decisions regarding custody and parenting time arrangements that are in the child’s best interest. This is accomplished, among other things, by assessing the capacity to parent, and the developmental, emotional, and physical needs of the child. Unless otherwise specified in the order, evaluators must consider and respond to the factors set forth at Idaho Code Section 3 2-71 7.
A Brief Focused Assessments (BFA) or “limited scope evaluation” is very similar to a Parent Time Evaluation, but typically shorter in duration and will focus solely on 1-2 specific areas of concern or difficulty between the co-parents.
The parents agree the objective of Court-Involved Therapy (CIT) is not to determine if it is in the child(ren)’s best interests to have contact with one of the parents. Rather, the parents agree it is in the child(ren)’s best interests to have meaningful relationships with both parents. The CIT is intended, therefore, to help the children have healthy and meaningful relationships with both parents. This is a court ordered process.
CIT, and herein includes reunification therapy, reintegration therapy, therapeutic mediation, and therapeutic supervised visitation, is a specific form of family therapy which addresses contact resistance or refusal, or estrangement between a parent and a child, most often in cases where the parents are living apart. It is most often sought out by a parent or ordered by a court when a child is resisting contact with a parent.
There are many reasons why a child may be reluctant to have contact with a parent. The parent and child never had a well-established relationship or the difficulties may be newly emerging. Sometimes events have hurt a parent and child’s relationship, including exposure to stormy or violent parent interactions or child mistreatment. In some situations, one parent is knowingly or unknowingly undermining or interfering with the child’s relationship with the other parent. Many times a child is reacting to the stress of being caught in the middle of parent conflict or to differences in the parents’ styles of parenting, and has aligned with one parent to relieve their internal distress. Usually, there is a combination of factors at play.
In CIT, the therapist assesses the family and implements treatment that is designed to address the issues that are contributing to the child’s avoidant reactions. Through the identification and targeting of these contributing factors, the therapist strives to help the child and both parents make changes that will lead to healthier and more satisfying parent-child relationships.
The parents agree to the involvement of the entire family, in various combinations, as directed by the therapist. The process will include meetings with each parent and the child(ren) individually and jointly. The process may include meetings with other family members as deemed necessary by the therapist.
There are a variety of ways in which the child and the parent who is being avoided may be asked to communicate and engage with one another, including, but not limited to: telephone calls, electronic messaging, hand-written communication, and exchanging artifacts, items, photos, and belongings.
Mediation is an effective, low cost alternative dispute resolution process. Mediation is a private and confidential means to assist parties in negotiating a mutually satisfying agreement outside of the court system, thereby reducing costs and leaving more control of the outcome to the parties themselves.
Stellar’s certified mediators use various proven & effective techniques to improve dialogue and empathy between parties. Because a mediator is a neutral third party, Stellar’s mediators will work with both parties to develop a mutually satisfactory agreement.
Benefits of mediation:
- Mediation is more cost effective than litigation (going to court) or arbitration (a hearing where a third party is retained to decide the outcome).
- Mediation is much more timely than litigation (going to court) or arbitration (a hearing where a third party is retained to decide the outcome).
- The parties have control over the outcome / results.
- The mediation process is confidential & private vs. court proceedings, which are a matter of public record.
- Because the parties are involved in the decision making and resolution, mediation has a higher rate of success & compliance than litigation or arbitration.
- Support: Mediators are specifically trained to provide support in difficult situations; particularly at Stellar, where our mediators are also mental health professionals.
- Creative solutions: Mediators are specifically trained to come up with creative solutions to complex issues and situations.
Types of mediation offered at Stellar Mental Health & Mediation:
- Parenting / Parenting Plans / Child Custody
- Neighborhood / Neighborhood Association
- Business / Contracts / Partnerships
- Landlord / Tenant
- Victim / Offender
Parenting coordination is a tool used to help manage ongoing issues in high conflict child custody and visitation cases. It is typically court-ordered, but can be a mutually agreed upon asset for parents who simply wish to communicate more effectively and put the needs of their children first and foremost.
Idaho is one of approximately 10 states that have passed legislation regarding the use of parenting coordinators due to its effectiveness. Not only is it cost effective, but it has been shown to be successful at reducing conflict between parents, thereby easing stress on their children.
The parenting coordinator is a case manager of sorts between parents, meeting regularly with them to facilitate communication and advocate for the best interests of the mutual children. The parenting coordinator makes recommendations to the parents regarding the parenting plan and compliance with such. The parenting coordinator is, essentially, the monitor of the parenting plan and can take / monitor complaints from each parent and report back to the court. It is the responsibility of the parenting coordinator to look out for the best interests of the children involved in the parenting plan.
Benefits of parenting coordination:
- Stress reduction for the parents
- Availability of more resources for the parents through parenting coordinator
- Additional support for the parents
- Reduction of child’s exposure to conflict between parents
- Increase in resolution of parental conflicts
- Reduction in attorney fees & court costs
- Healthier parent-child relationships
- Parents can focus more on the best interests of the children
Please note: All of the above services require a court order and are cash-only. We do not accept insurance for any court services.