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Funding for Healthy Co-Parenting Research in Florida

Many couples who file for divorce will need to consider the effects of their decision on their children. Indeed, questions of child custody and visitation can become extremely contentious—even in divorces that at first appeared to be uncontested. According to a recent article in the Tallahassee Democrat, researchers at Florida State University just received a grant of $250,000 from the Vandermark Foundation to “create an online toolkit designed to foster healthy co-parenting in families of divorce.”

Better Co-Parenting Creates Healthier Children

Going through a divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences in your life. And when children come into the equation, many parents feel anxiety at the prospect of having to see an ex-spouse on a regular basis or to discuss issues concerning the kids. Good co-parenting, however, really can help to “create healthy, well-adjusted children,” according to Karen Oehme. Oehme serves as the director for the Institute for Family Violence Studies in the College of Social Work at FSU, and she’s one of the researchers who will benefit from the recent grant.

Oehme is part of a team that’s working to develop the “Successful Co-Parenting After Divorce” project, which is an interdisciplinary effort among various colleges at FSU, including the College of Education, the College of Communication and Information, and the College of Social Work. Peter Scanlon, the president of the Vandermark Foundation and an FSU alum himself, emphasized that he’s “excited to see the FSU community come together for this collaborative project.”

Learning More About Successful Co-Parenting After Divorce

Given that about 25 percent of all families in the U.S. are “single-parent families with children under the age of 18,” and millions more have parents who are divorced, the researchers at FSU knew it was time to take steps to make divorce healthier for kids. To be sure, research trends suggest that “children are healthier when their parents have the knowledge and skills essential to resolving conflicts and can prioritize the well-being of their children.” With those ideas in mind, the Successful Co-Parenting After Divorce Project has some key aims for divorcing parents:

  • Education: One of the objectives of the project is to provide education to families about the effects of divorce, including the effects of conflict on families. If parents are educated about the kinds of protections that healthy co-parenting can provide for their kids, they may be more likely to take it seriously.
  • Facilitation of healthy relationships: The researchers hope their toolkit will help to facilitate healthy co-parenting in divorced families by promoting certain skills and strategies, from communication skills to conflict-reduction strategies.
  • Training: In order to make a significant impact, the project will help to train professionals who regularly work with divorcing couples—such as mental health professionals or attorneys—about the importance of healthy co-parenting and ways of improving relations when it comes to children.

One of the major features of the project will be an online course which, if approved, will be mandatory for parenting programs in Florida. The project also will provide families with videos and testimonies to help them “as they navigate the divorce process.” The toolkit will be free to families currently dealing with divorce, as well as others affected by the divorce process.

If you have questions or concerns about child custody or co-parenting in Florida, you should talk with an experienced Fort Lauderdale family lawyer. Contact the Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. for legal advice at 954-963-5900 or leave a message online.

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