Kids at zebra crossingAngelina Jolie has been a news-maker lately for her courageous decision to disclose her personal health care response to having a breast cancer gene. You may have noticed in her media interviews how often she has referred to “my partner, Brad Pitt.” Jolie and Pitt are among many parents raising children and creating lives together without being married. Some couples do this by choice and others by historic exclusion from the opportunity to get married (an inequitable situation that has changed with the recent passage of marriage equality legislation in Minnesota).

What support options exist for these families when parents make the difficult decision to break up? And what support options exist for parents who never formed a permanent relationship but intend to co-parent? What might Collaborative Team Practice have to offer these parents and families?

Collaborative Team Practice can provide a very stable container for parents seeking to end their partnership in a dignified and respectful way, and to create a road map for future co-parenting. Depending on the legal, financial and parenting issues to be resolved, parents can select a team of professionals specifically tailored to their circumstances and needs. As a neutral child specialist, I have been privileged to work with many non-married couples and non-coupled parents to create developmentally responsive parenting plans to guide co-parenting. These are clients who take to heart the notion that kids deserve the best safe parenting they can get from both parents. The future for these children feels brighter, more hopeful and more coherent.

It takes courage and mindfulness to co-parent after a break up, or if parents have never been in a committed relationship. But we know that effective co-parenting is a cornerstone of health and resilience for children. Parents deserve all the support they can get, and Collaborative Team Practice can help provide that support.

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