Settlement-Focused Parenting Plan Consultation
When parents divorce or separate, agreements must be reached regarding appropriate time-sharing
plans for children. These are frequently difficult and emotional issues for parents to sort out in
the midst of their divorce. Research has shown that mediated settlements to child custody disputes
encourage both parents to remain in their children's lives after divorce, without increasing
co-parent conflict. Allowing others to impose a ruling frequently never ends the conflicts.
Studies show that settlements negotiated by divorcing parents work better than those imposed upon
them by the court.
The Settlement-Focused Parenting Plan Consultation is a new approach to resolving post-divorce
child custody dilemmas that combines aspects of both child custody mediation and child custody
evaluation. This method was recently developed by Dr Pickar (along with Dr. Jeffrey Kahn), with
the express goal of assisting parents to resolve child custody disputes outside of the court
system. Over the last few years, this method has been successfully utilized by Dr. Pickar in
helping families resolve child custody disputes outside of the court system.
The Settlement-Focused Parenting Plan Consultation is a hybrid alternative dispute approach that
blends the advantages of child custody evaluations, mediation, and collaborative practice, at less
than half the cost of a child custody evaluation. This is a confidential, voluntary procedure that
is a form of child custody mediation (or "evaluative mediation"), which occurs outside of the court
system. The purpose is to involve a child custody expert at the beginning of a divorce process to
offer solutions, rather than later in the process, as often occurs during a traditional litigated
custody dispute. The Settlement-Focused Parenting Plan Consultation assists parents, and their
attorneys, in deciding upon appropriate time-sharing plans for their children.
To achieve this goal, Dr. Pickar first meets with parents together for an initial intake/mediation
session, followed by a series of individual interviews with parents and children. Also, information
is obtained from collateral sources such as teachers or therapists. Dr. Pickar then assists parents
(and their attorneys, if represented by counsel) in negotiating a parenting plan for their
children, along with assisting with conflict disengagement and improved co-parenting. Dr. Pickar
works with parents to better understand the specific, post-divorce needs of each child, based upon
his/her developmental age and unique personality. In addition to working with the time-share
preferences of each parent, Dr. Pickar offers empirically based knowledge regarding children's
adjustment in various living arrangements following divorce, as well as information regarding
developmentally appropriate parenting plans.
Click here ( PDF) for more detailed information,
a fee schedule and stipulation.