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New Ways for Families™ is an exciting new method for handling the growing problem of high-conflict families in our courts and out of court, including in Collaborative Divorce and Parenting Coordination cases. It is designed to save courts time, to save parents money, and to protect children as their families re-organize in new ways after a separation or divorce, for married or never-married parents. This interdisciplinary approach requires the cooperation and coordination of all professionals in addressing clients inside or outside the court process. The counseling/coaching component is brief and highly structured. It gives parents a chance to focus on learning skills to make positive changes rather than becoming preoccupied with defending themselves in the endless “attack-defend” cycle of parenting evaluation and litigation. It can be a partial assessment tool for future parenting orders. It gives parents a chance to change. New Ways for Families™ requires a significant shift in attitude toward potentially high-conflict clients. Judges need to emphasize validating and motivating clients for future change, rather than criticizing past behavior – while still making findings and orders about past behavior when necessary. Lawyers need to focus their clients on identifying and presenting neutral information about parenting behavior problems. Therapists need to be less involved in court decision-making, and more involved in counseling clients to overcome barriers to learning new skills. Parents need to be more involved in presenting neutral behavioral information and demonstrating their own new skills in court and out of court. There are growing indications that many judges, lawyers, therapists and parents are ready for such a change in the family court process. In further development of this method, High Conflict Institute now offers the New Ways method in many models, allowing for implementation in any setting, with any type of parent. There are now several approaches to using New Ways: (1) Court Ordered, (2) Attorney-Initiated, (3) Mediation, (4) Pre-Mediation Coaching, (5) Parent-Initiated, (5) Individual and Family Counseling, (6) Collaborative Divorce, and (7) Decision Skills Class.

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