Parenting Time Studies & Consultations
Parenting time is often a contentious issue in acrimonious separations and divorces. Deena McMahon, LICSW, MSW, is often asked to consult on best practice for questions about parenting time (formerly called “visitation”). Courts have appointed Ms. McMahon to do parenting time studies. Parents or their attorneys also hire her for these assessments. She has completed parenting time assessments in Minnesota and Michigan.
What Is Involved in a Parenting Time Assessment?
A parenting time study is different from a child custody evaluation. It is a plan for how parents will use the time they have a legal right to spend with their child. It considers a child’s best interest based on developmental age and specific needs.
Ms. McMahon meets with both parents to observe them with their child or children. She determines whether there are any significant parenting deficits, and assesses each child’s risk and resiliency features and developmental milestones. She then offers recommendations for parenting time based on the best interest of the child or children.
An effective parenting plan will consider the child’s current and future development as primary. Ms. McMahon’s recommendations strongly adhere to developmental tasks and the needs of the individual child or children. She helps parents find creative solutions that will fit the family’s specific needs.
Considerations in a parenting plan may include:
• How often is it appropriate for a child of a certain age to fly back and forth between parents’ residences?
• How will birthdays and holidays be handled?
• Who will take time off work when the child is sick?
• Who does the driving?
• Where and when will the child be picked up or dropped off?
• When is the child developmentally ready to have overnight visits?
To arrange a parenting time study, please email Ms. McMahon or call (651) 210-0335.