Tara Fass, LMFT, Therapist, Co-Parent Educator, Parent Plan Mediator * (323) 333-4340 * CA License 35078
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The Way Out is the Way In
Tara Fass is an experienced and licensed mental help professional who can help you uncouple. She understands how to re-structure your parenting arrangements as you move through the transitions involved when your family comes apart and reorganizes. Working with Tara you come to realize dissolution (divorce and separation) can be handled in such a way as to start the healing process right away. Conventional wisdom says you must wait to begin healing after the dissolution and not before. If you want to be lead to reason with your co-parent, and can't quite get there on your own, working with Tara might help. Tara starts with empathy, helping you face what is missing in your co-parenting relationship. Muddling through the downside of dissolution so that you approach your situation, no matter how dire, in a more thoughtful and productive, accepting way. If you know you want to work in this pro-active way, or want to try, Tara can help you get there.
First Things First
Rather than battling through family court with or without a lawyer, there is a way to get out of your own way and ease the pain. It's not simple, but gets better over time. Tara helps you safely mourn, so you can take stock while keeping in mind the one good thing to remain - the children who need to be raised. Start by forgiving yourself and then your co-parent for all the failures that lead up to the split. This is what Tara means by saying the way out is the way in. This way of working enables you to think of new ways to change the focus from relating as ex-lovers to relating as co-parents. Tara helps you step back, feel and re-set, looking for a new approach to accommodate changed circumstances while remembering the children. By working this way, Tara helps you expand your capacity for flexibility in feeling and thinking about co-parenting. Co-parent counseling that lends itself to co-parenting plan mediation is a big step in the healing process for children and adults. The choice is yours. Tara can help.
The Bifurcated Child and Children of Dissolution
If you have a child you are co-parenting between two homes this website may interest you because you are raising a Bifurcated Child of Dissolution. The Bifurcated Child and Children of Dissolution are two terms Tara Fass, LMFT created for minor children whose parents are no longer together as a couple. I hope it describes the internal and external experience of co-parented children who move between their respective parent’s homes on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. Internally, the Bifurcated Child must manage first class citizenship in two, often very different homes with different expectations as well as written and unwritten rules. If the children are the one good thing resulting from a union that is longer to be, a developmentally sound co-parenting plan positively affects everyone's life in a family.
Co-parenting as the New Normal
The co-parented or Bifurcated Child, a term coined by Tara Fass, is largely a late 20th and early 21st century invention. From the 1950s through the 1980s the Bifurcated Child was typically a primary school aged child who tended to live with mom and visit dad every other weekend and one night a week. That would change adolescence and then all bets were off. Since the 1990's it is increasingly the norm that mothers and fathers are interested in a more egalitarian approach to child rearing, at every age and stage of children’s development. Working out the details of a developmentally sound parenting plan is very important. Often parents need help to accomplish the best co-parenting plan for their children.
The Great Abandonment is Not Inevitable
Marital and relationship dissolution is nothing new. The earliest recorded legal divorces took place in ancient Rome among the elite. Nowadays, when couples break up, it is often true that both parents need to take a look at the daily, weekly and monthly routines of their children. Neither parent wants to be less of a parent or drop out of the children's lives. Even if a parent attempts to disappear from a child's life, the state has developed the technology to find parents. Often it is to have them pay child support. Once a parent is paying child support, there is an attempt to establish a co-parenting timeshare as well.
Anchoring the Bifurcated Child
All Bifurcated children need a written parenting plan as part of their Family Law Court process. The more individually tailored and developmentally appropriate the co-parenting plan is for your child, the more secure your child will feel. This is an excellent goal to keep in mind when developing a co-parenting plan.
Empowerment Sets a Good Example
The schedule that governs the movements of the Bifurcated Child is called a Co-parenting Plan. Once it is ratified by Family Law Court, it becomes law. As dissolving couples with minor children you have two choices. You can let a judge decided the most intimate movements of your child's life and by extension, your life too. Or, you and your co-parent can take the law into your own hands by making your own structured mutual agreements.
Bowing Out with Dignity
Bowing out of a relationship with your heads held high is a lot to ask or expect. No two people enter into dissolution on the same emotional timeline. It’s hard enough for partners without children to go their separate ways. For two highly functioning people, it’s normal to break down in the early days after physically separating from an intimate partner. As time goes by, childless couples have fewer compelling reasons to stay in touch, once their finances are uncoupled. This is not the case for co-parents.
Building a New Legacy Today
For co-parents, pure separation is a near impossibility. This makes separating and learning to live better while parting a more delicate operation. The one true thing co-parents have in common are the children. To align around children’s ‘best interests’ is one activity two parents can agree on, married and living together, or not.
The Paradox of Dissolution
One co-parent is usually more invested in the relationship and devoted to staying together. This may occur even when the conditions created by the relationship are increasingly unhealthy. One person may be making it impossible to stay together and the other person wants to keep trying to repair the relationship. This problematic heating up and cooling down dynamic may even shift. The one who is separating and distancing may change course when the other is finally accepting of the break up. This zig-zag motion is called ambivalence. It can work on both subtle and obvious levels. Ambivalence left to fester, can result in what is known as an enmeshed or enabling relationship. Coalitions and triangles form. This is especially harmful to children who get caught in the middle and experience loyalty conflicts much differently. The goal is to put to rest co-parent conflict.
Clearing the Path
At the core of a break up is some degree of ambivalence for both partners. During the break up ambivalence creates mixed feelings. This can cause confusion and conflict. As parents however, the focus of your journey together must turn to the one good remaining fact of your relationship – your children growing up whole and healthy. From disappointment and rage, blame, drama and trauma, the efforts leading to creating a sound co-parenting plan, a couple can begin the work of healing from dissolution (divorce and separation).