New Ways for Families® is a structured parenting skills method intended to reduce the impact of conflict on the children in potentially high-conflict divorce and separation cases. It can be used whenever a parent or the court believes one parent needs restricted parenting time (supervised, no contact, limited time), at the start of a case or any time a parent requests it–including after the divorce.
This method emphasizes strengthening skills for positive future behavior (new ways), rather than focusing on past negative behavior – while still acknowledging it. It helps to protect children as their families re-organize in new ways after a separation or divorce, by teaching parents skills for long-term co-parenting. It can be used with married or never-married parents.
New Ways for Families is intended to teach parents the skills necessary to put their children first by improving their co-parenting skills and jointly making their parenting decisions out-of-court, which reduces the time the court must spend making decisions for them. When parents make their own parenting decisions, they are more likely to follow the agreements.
This method can be used in family court (as a requirement prior to the court making any decisions), mediation, collaborative divorce, pre-mediation coaching, or even post-divorce with the assistance of a Parenting Coordinator or High Conflict Case Manager.
To immunize families against becoming high conflict families in the separation and after the divorce, by teaching parents to avoid common characteristics of high conflict families and to learn or strengthen skills for resiliency.
To help parents teach their children skills for resilience in this time of huge and rapid change in the foundation of their family life.
To strengthen both parents’ abilities to make parenting decisions, while relying less on experts and the courts to make their decisions for them.
To assist professionals and the courts in assessing each parent’s potential to learn new, positive ways of problem-solving and organizing their family after a separation or divorce. By having both parents participate in the program, it helps professionals and the courts avoid creating an “all-bad parent” and an “all-good parent,” which often escalates the family into high conflict behavior. The focus is always on strengthening skills for future co-parenting.
To give parents a chance to change in court cases of abuse or alienation, before making long-term court orders which may limit their contact with children or require additional treatment (batterers treatment, drug treatment, further counseling, etc.). New Ways still allows for temporary orders when necessary for the health and safety of the children.