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What is a co-parenting agenda?

This page introduces the idea of a co-parenting agenda.

Participants in both co-parenting and Parenting Coordination services will be asked to provide an agenda via email, copy to all participants, at least 24 hours in advance of the scheduled service.

Be certain to include your name, the family name (if different from your name) and the date of the upcoming meeting on your agenda.

Your agenda should not include full sentences, proper grammar or emotions. The goal is to create a brief, bulleted list of child-centered items that should be resolved. State the item, not your opinion. For example, "extra-curricular activities" rather than "I think he should play soccer.

List agenda items in priority order. Health and safety issues always come first.

Please create a new agenda for each meeting. Do not rely on the agenda from the last meeting as it is not likely to reflect your current concerns and priorities.

Come to the meeting with any relevant data (e.g., dates, times, places, costs, websites or print materials to learn more).

In overview:

1. Neither co-parenting nor Parenting Coordination is psychotherapy. Both are child-centered and agenda driven. They are both conducted like a business meeting, where the business is the child's well-being.

2. A co-parenting agenda is a short list of topics that might be covered in a co-parenting or parenting coordination meeting.

3. Dr. Garber will typically ask that all participants in a scheduled meeting deliver an agenda to all (including Dr. Garber) at least 24 hours in advance via email.

4. Agenda items should be simple, clear factual statements. For example, "summer camp" or "tennis lessons" or "next orthodontist appt."

5. Agenda items must not be emotional. Avoid blame, shame and guilt. This usually means NOT including phrases like "why did you...?" and "I can't believe that ...!" and any words that might be read as hurtful, demeaning or abusive.

6. Agenda items should be listed in priority order from most important to least. Higher priority items will include matters of health and safety and time-urgent matters. Higher priority items are more likely to be resolved in the next meeting, while lower priority items may be delayed and carried over to the next meeting.

7. Children should not be aware of these agendas or the process of the meetings unless specifically decided in meeting.

Uncertain whether to put an item on the agenda and how to phrase it? Write it down and leave it overnight. See how it strikes you when you read it again the next day. Ask a friend to read it and get reactions. Ask, "how can I say this without adding fuel to the co-parenting fire?"

In the end, the key will be deciding that you love your children more than you hate their other parent.

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