Cooperative Parenting & Divorce Course
Family relationships do not disappear when couples end their partnership. For the sake of their children, parents must continue to communicate with each other in matters of child-rearing. The parents' behavior greatly affects how well a child adapts to the new family structure.
Unrelenting parental conflict harms children. It is the single most important predictor of poor adjustment in children following a divorce.
Cooperative Parenting and Divorce is an educational program designed to teach parents to recognize their own harmful behaviors and provide the skills to change. The overall goal of Cooperative Parenting and Divorce is to give children the opportunity to grow in a home environment without being caught in the middle of parental conflict.>
More and more judges are aware that parental conflict puts children at risk of harm and are insisting that parents learn skills to reduce children's exposure to parental conflict and avoid unnecessary litigation. This course is one of Bexar County's efforts to fill this need.>
Who Should Attend:
- This program is available to parents who have volunteered or been ordered by the Court to attend Cooperative Parenting
Cooperative Parenting and Divorce benefits children by:
- Reducing the child's symptoms of stress as parental conflict decreases
- Diminishing the child's sense of being caught in the middle
- Allowing the child to love both parents
- Creating a more relaxed home atmosphere, allowing the child to adjust more effectively
- Teaching effective communication and conflict-resolution skills as modeled by their parents
- Increasing the likelihood of keeping two active parents in the child's life
About the Program
- Convenient webinar format - attend live class from any device.
- Eight weekly 2-hour classes
- Safe environment - This is education, not group therapy, so you won't be talking about your "stuff."
- Offered at convenient hours for working parents - Tuesday or Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 PM
- Reasonable cost (per person). For those ordered by the Bexar County courts to attend, fee is based on the participant's income, and ranges from $0 to $35 per session per parent, plus an intake fee that ranges from $0 to $65. [Fee Schedule here]. If not court-ordered to attend, and for those ordered by a court in a county other than Bexar, the cost is $35 for each of the eight sessions, plus $75 for the intake session. >
How do I enroll?
Click HERE for instructions.>
Registration Instructions - Cooperative Parenting Program
To register for the Cooperative Parenting and Divorce course:
The short version:
- Download the registration form by clicking here.
- Open the form in Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (available here)
- Follow the instructions contained within the downloaded file
- You will be filling out an Adobe PDF form and emailing it to us, along with some other documents, if needed.
- NOTE: Enrollment is not complete until you have submitted all forms and paid your enrollment fee. That must be completed by the enrollment deadline of 5 PM the business day prior the class start date. We are closed for federal and state holidays.
Cooperative Parenting & Divorce Course Outline
Are you curious about the content covered in the Cooperative Parenting and Divorce course?
Below is a brief description of each of the eight sessions.
You must attend all eight to earn the certificate of completion.
Session One - Making the Commitment to Caring (Child-Focused or Out of Focus). Parents learn to recognize parental hostility and discover how conflict impacts their child's development. Factors which influence a child's adjustment to divorce are presented. The notion of "child-focused" versus "self-focused" is proposed and stressed throughout the program. Parents complete a "Commitment to Caring" agreement and are introduced to the eight steps of effective co-parenting.
Session Two - Allowing My Child to Love Both Parents (Plan for Peace or Tug of War). For the sake of their child, parents learn to view their former spouse from their child's perspective. Parents work to identify the positive and valuable qualities of the child's other parent. They learn to create two homes, minimize stress at transitions, and make time sharing a positive experience for their child. Parents determine the obvious and not so obvious ways they put their child in the middle of their conflict. They discover the influence of loyalty and the ways their children struggle to avoid a loyalty bind. The importance of allowing children access to their extended family is also addressed.
Session Three - Changing My Long Term Role (Letting Go or Holding On). Parents examine their attachment to their former spouse. They discover that their anger and bitterness keep them emotionally attached to one another in much the same way as their love once did. They identify their level of attachment and learn ways to let go physically and emotionally from their marital relationship. The grief process, forgiveness and the value of rituals are reviewed.
Session Four - Choosing My Personal Path (Make it Better or Keep it Bitter). Parents clarify their personal choices and identify a personal path. The term "realignment" is introduced to assist parents in creating a new role as co-parents. Obstacles to realignment are examined and the notion of "secondary gains," "boundaries," and the "non-interference principle" are presented. Characteristics of a business relationship are taught as they apply to a co-parenting relationship. The STP-A technique is demonstrated. Parents realize that they are separate but equal partners in their role as co-parents regardless of their custody arrangement.
Session Five - Managing My Own Anger (Neither Fight nor Take Flight). Parents explore the emotion of anger. They determine what anger is, the internal and external signals of anger, constructive versus destructive anger, anger triggers, and the consequences of harboring anger. Parents recognize their distorted beliefs and how their negative assumptions create negative feelings toward the other parent. The Anger Connections (cognitive restructuring) is presented to teach parents how their thoughts create their feelings. Parents are taught to take responsibility for their actions rather than wait for their co-parent to change. In addition, they are exposed to a variety of strategies to manage their anger as well as their child's anger.
Session Six - Taking Control of Conflict (Defuse or Light the Fuse). Parents examine the cycle of conflict using concepts of "fire prevention." Barriers to effective conflict resolution are highlighted and techniques to overcome these barriers are practiced. They identify ways to defuse conflict for themselves and their child. Parents learn effective communication and listening skills. The advantages of effective communication between co-parents are stressed. Parents identify their contribution to the communication pattern and identify obstacles to successful interaction. Tips for dealing with unreasonable expectations and limit-setting techniques are taught and practiced.
Session Seven - Negotiating Agreement (All a Winner or Winner Take All). Problem-solving techniques and business relationship skills are examined from a divorced parent position. A seven-step negotiation method is demonstrated. Parents discover that negotiating on behalf of their child means that if their child "wins," then everyone is the "winner." Parents learn how to prepare for and organize business meetings with their co-parent. They develop constructive ways to address many typical divorce situations.
Session Eight - Co-Parenting Is Forever (Cooperation or Conflict). Parents review their commitment to care, the notion of "child-focused" versus "self-focused" as well as communication and negotiation skills. Parents are introduced to techniques to determine the validity of their concerns, the seriousness of their concerns, and practice how to address these issues in a productive manner. Co-parents are given the tools necessary to create agreements based on their child's best interest. To formalize their joint commitment to their child's future, coparents participate in a "Co-Parenting Is Forever" ceremony at the end of the program.
Special Online Delivery of Cooperative Parenting Course
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have moved to delivering the class using a webinar format. It is not as effective as the in-person training we have relied upon for the past 14 years, but changing circumstances require us to adapt to the complexities of preventing the spread of disease and restrictions on people's movement.
The class schedule remains in place and instruction will continue to be delivered live. We are simply moving the classroom to Zoom via the Internet.
What you will need to attend the webinar:
- An internet-capable device, such as a destop computer, laptop computer, tablet computer, iPad, or smart phone.
- Access to the internet, such as LAN, wi-fi, or cellphone data. The faster your internet speed, the better your experience will be.
- An email address.
- The ability to make a payment on our website. You can pay using your PayPal account, a credit card, or a debit card.
- While not required, we recommend you use headphones/earbuds to improve the audio experience.
2021-22 Cooperative Parenting Program Schedule
DOWNLOAD PDF version
Enrollment Deadline: These classes tend to fill to capacity 2-3 weeks before the start date, so do no delay in submitting your enrollment paperwork and paying your enrollment fee. Both must be completed by the enrollment deadline.Enrollment closes at 5 PM on the business day before the class is scheduled to start, if not already filled. We are closed on weekends and federal and state holidays,
No late enrollments permitted. If you miss the enrollment deadline, you will be offered enrollment in the next available class. If you miss the first class, you will not be allowed to join the class.