A co-parenting specialist is usually a professional who is able to guide you through your transition from parents to co-parents following a separation or divorce. They can have a variety of backgrounds and there is no set pathway to this career. For example mediation, psychology or counselling.
If you’ve recently separated and especially if you’ve been separated for a long time, then you will be well versed in the unique challenges that co-parenting can present to a couple.
Whilst many parents can navigate these obstacles without the need for extra help, most would benefit from the guidance of a co-parenting specialist. That being said, there are definitely signs which may indicate when you might want to consider co-parenting coaching, which we’ve outlined below.
You might need a co-parenting specialist if…
1. You need help agreeing on your child arrangements
This is quite an obvious point and something that really shouldn't be overlooked. If you’ve recently separated, then you will need to agree on where your children will live, who they will live with and how you will pay for their needs moving forward. A co-parenting specialist will often be able to help you to agree on these issues through various tools and resources.
2. You and your ex can’t agree on a particular issue
If there’s a specific sticking point in terms of your child arrangements and you are struggling to agree, a co-parenting specialist will be able to help you navigate this particular issue. For example, if you can’t agree on your shared-care arrangement a coach will be able to understand the implications that the various patterns might have, and how realistic certain options are given your lifestyle.
3. You and your ex aren’t sticking to your arrangements
If you and your ex are struggling to keep to your agreed-upon arrangements, then a co-parenting specialist will enable you to either discover the root of the issue or help you to agree on new arrangements that work for you both.
amicable has designed a service to specifically remedy this issue. The Parenting Contract enables couples to have their child arrangements written up into an agreement to be signed by you both to help with accountability and commitment moving forwards.
There are many more reasons why a couple may choose to seek help from a co-parenting specialist after separation, and sometimes it’s just helpful to dedicate a period of time to talk through various issues you are facing in terms of parenting after divorce or separation.
People usually contact a co-parenting specialist before or during a divorce or separation, however, it’s not uncommon for new issues to arise in the future as your child/ren develop and with changes in circumstances. Therefore you might find a co-parenting coach useful several years down the line.
There are, however, times when more assistance or even intervention might be required. We have outlined a few of these circumstances below.
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You might need extra help or co-parenting coaching might not be suitable if…
1. You are worried about your children’s safety
This is a number one priority and a situation that is outside of a co-parenting specialist's remit. If you are ever extremely concerned about the safety of your child, because of their other parent or their new partner then you will need to seek advice from the police or social services. Citizen’s Advice has a section full of resources, dedicated to ‘protecting children’. You can access this here.
2. You or your children’s mental health/ is affected
Divorce or separation can take its toll on your mental health and we have a blog on how divorce impacts your mental health as well as one specifically on divorce anxiety if you want to read more about this topic. There are times when you might need extra help from a therapist or even medication if you have prolonged periods of a particular feeling such as sadness, grief or anxiety. Your children’s mental health might also be impacted, and you can read more about this here. Again, this might need intervention or specialist help.
3. Your child’s behaviour has become worrying
If your child is struggling because of your divorce or separation, then it can be natural for them to act differently from normal. If there is ever cause for concern, such as disruptive behaviour which is impacting their performance in school or their ability to socialise, and for older children, involvement in sexually inappropriate behaviour, alcohol or drugs, then you should then seek help from your GP who might refer them to a child psychologist or elsewhere. Your children’s school will also have resources that you can use such as SENCo or ELSA.
Where can I find a co-parenting specialist?
We have lots of different services and specialists who will be able to specifically help you and your family if you are going through a separation or divorce. Our coaches predominantly have a background in either family law, mediation or psychology and will be able to help you navigate various co-parenting issues you might face. We also have a co-parenting app to help you stick to your child arrangements, message your ex securely or set and track shared goals.