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GAYLE ZIEMAN, Ph.D.
Child, Family and School Psychologist
Girard-Indian School Professional Building
2741 Indian School Road, NE
Albuquerque, NM 87106

Phone: 505.255.6002

 

MEDIATION AND PARENTING COORDINATION

For Parents Having Separate Households

 

What are Mediation and Parenting Coordination?

When parents need assistance over one or two sessions with deciding a set of focused issues, then the service is Mediation. When ongoing assistance is needed to improve co-parent communication and cooperation, then the service is Parenting Coordination.

Assistance is provided to help both parents and households create or successfully implement a Court-ordered Parenting Plan. Guidance is offered as a neutral third party in the areas of: child development and considerations, communication, cooperation, Parenting Plan advice and joint decision-making. Dr. Zieman seeks to reduce conflict, increase cooperation and trust, and prevent parents from returning to the Court over parenting issues.

When agreed to by the parents and appointed by the Court, Dr. Zieman works with parents to assure that the best interests of the child(ren) are served. Efforts are made to keep attorneys informed about the process of parenting assistance and to help them see the work between parents as a method to solve parenting problems outside of litigation. If there is an attorney appointed for the children (called a Guardian ad Litem), then close coordination is kept with him/her.

In some cases the parents and the Court agree that Dr. Zieman should arbitrate decisions if the parents cannot resolve conflicts through mediation and coordination. Dr. Zieman can arbitrate many co-parenting decisions, but can never arbitrate property or child/spousal support decisions or any decision which would change or violate a court-order.

Mediation
Mediation is done around a single or defined set of topics. Meetings are scheduled in one or more blocks of time. Sometimes, when there are older children, it is helpful or necessary for Dr. Zieman to briefly meet the children involved in order to understand how the needed decisions will affect them.

Parenting Coordination
When assistance and guidance are expected to be an ongoing need and services may continue regularly or sporadically over months or years then Dr Zieman serves as a Parenting Coordinator. To start, the process in the beginning is well defined and involves:

  1. An initial meeting is held with each parent alone to learn the history and the issues. One or two meetings are often held with the child(ren), if they are age 6 or older, to learn better about whom the discussions and decisions will involve. In cases where services extend over a long period of time, the children may be met with again.

  2. Assistance sessions, depending on the family and situation, are scheduled as needed, typically every two to six weeks to start and later on a less frequent basis such as quarterly. Meetings are done with both parents together. Under special circumstances stepparents are sometimes included, and in some cases arrangements are made for Dr Zieman to monitor e-mail communications between parents.

  3. The ultimate goal is for the parents to learn to communicate, cooperate, and make decisions on their own without assistance.

Ground Rules

  1. Reference to historical events are restricted to only necessary, brief notes.
  2. Fighting and arguing are not tolerated.
  3. Meetings and telephone calls are planned to be with both parents. If a parent appears to be avoiding meetings in what Dr. Zieman believes may be a manipulative strategy to influence decisions or events, then meetings may be conducted with a single parent.
  4. If a scheduled meeting is not kept or is canceled with less than 24 business hours notice, then the parent failing to cancel is responsible for all fees related to the meeting.
  5. Payment of fees is to be at the time of service. When services occur by telephone or e-mail, a retainer or guaranteeing credit card may be requested.
  6. Dr. Zieman or either of the parents may request from the Court at any time that services be terminated or transferred to another professional.
  7. For mediation services the New Mexico Mediation Procedures Act (2007) applies. This means among other things that almost all statements made in meetings are confidential and cannot be used in any later court process. The main exceptions are any statements which might express criminal intent or involve bringing legal action over the mediation itself.
  8. Dr. Zieman does not offer after-hours crisis services or access. Parents should anticipate potential problems and make advance appointments to deal with them. Assistance services are not designed to respond routinely to crises or last minute issues. Services are primarily to assist parents in learning to coordinate in advance with each other.
  9. At the end of each joint parent meeting, an audio recording is made listing the decisions made between parents. This recording is distributed to both parents.

Fees

Scheduled services are to be paid for in advance or at the time of the service. Typically the Court orders, or the parties agree in advance, how to divide the fees. Parent coordination or mediation services are not covered by any medical insurance. Credit cards (MasterCard, Discover and Visa) are accepted.

The fee rates, subject to New Mexico Gross Receipts Tax, are:

< 20 min. consultations/service - $70
20-40 min. meetings/service - $115
40-59 min. meetings/service - $150
60-90 min. meetings/service - $220

Urgent Assistance Needs/Request
— needed within 7 days, 50% surcharge added to all fees
— needed within 48 hours, 100% surcharge added to all fees
— Surcharges may be allotted to one parent if, in Dr Zieman's judgement, one parent's actions or failure to act, led to the urgent service need.

All Information effective as of 15 May 2015.

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