Parenting plans can be determined by many methods. Child Custody/Parenting Plan Evaluations have the benefit of gathering broad and comprehensive information about the family system including how it functions, parenting strengths and weaknesses, co-parental functioning and developmental considerations.  However, evaluations are intrusive, can increase conflict between the parents, disempower them, and increase feelings of vulnerability, helplessness and dependence on the court system to make decisions about their children.  Litigation, even when necessary, has unintended consequences which often leaves the family to manage the damage and heal, if possible.  This workshop will present a hybrid approach to parenting plan evaluations incorporating a mandatory dispute resolution component to help parents resolve their conflicts without litigation. We will discuss the risks and benefits of this approach, identify appropriate cases, address ethical concerns and due process considerations, and provide court orders and sample disclosures which outline the procedures. Case examples will be presented.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to understand and apply a settlement focused evaluation process.
  • Participants will be able to understand the legal framework and due process considerations of a hybrid model.
  • Participants will be able to identify cases appropriate for and list the risks and benefits of a settlement focused model.