Hands down, the best way to protect your children from the well-researched negative impacts of a high-conflict divorce or parental break-up is to spend some time, energy, and yes, money with a neutral parenting specialist.

In the throes of a divorce or custody battle it is ever so tempting to either hand your destiny over to your attorney or your parenting partner or decide not to hire a parenting specialist because of added cost. Both options may seem relatively reasonable however; both decisions are typically problematic and may ultimately cost more over time than investing in a specialist at the start.

Taking the time to discuss all aspects of separate parenting (including boundaries, joint rules, communication, expenses, new partners, expectations and the like) BEFORE these issues become problems is one of the secrets of success. A parenting specialist is invaluable in helping each of you understand the common pitfalls, set reasonable expectations and create workable protocols.

The old adage, “you get what you pay for” comes to mind. While an experienced family law attorney may have handled hundreds of custody issues he/she is not (often) a child or parenting expert; and he/she is not an expert about your life or your children. Only you and your parenting partner are experts about your life and your children. You know better than anyone what will work for your family and when the dust settles, you and your family will have to live with the results. With neutral, professional assistance, most parents (even high conflict parents) are able to create workable parenting plans complete with expectations and behavioral guidelines.

Separate parenting is difficult at best and learning how to be effective after a divorce or break-up does not come naturally. It takes time, hard work and training. A qualified parenting specialist may come from a variety of backgrounds – such as a therapist, social worker, mediator, or even possibly an attorney. They don’t have to have personal experience with separate parenting but I believe that type of experience is highly beneficial (I’m biased of course). Regardless of their educational and professional background and expertise, a neutral and direct parenting consultant is worth their weight in gold because divorcing parents sometimes need to hear messages and receive guidance they would rather avoid or disregard.