Sturgeon Bay: Counseling Associates expands services

7:14 AM, Apr. 3, 2013  |  Comments
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Counseling Associates of Door County recently added two new services to assist divorcing couples and their families. The addition of divorce resolution services and co-parenting counseling is designed to help couples achieve an amicable divorce and develop a calm and loving environment for their new family arrangement.

Jamie K. Palmer is a licensed clinical professional counselor and mediator with more than 30 years of experience working with clients of all ages and with varying issues. She joined Counseling Associates just over two years ago. Through Divorce Resolution Services, Palmer works with divorcing couples to help them develop their divorce agreements and parenting schedules.

"The goal of mediation is to preserve family relationships, if possible, even though the marriage is ending," Palmer said.

Mediation is a method of solving disputes in which the people involved meet together with a trained professional mediator who listens to all sides, helps bring the issues of the dispute into focus and assists those involved in finding a mutually beneficial solution. The mediator promotes cooperation and compromise. This is especially helpful for divorcing couples with children who will need to work together on parenting issues after their divorce, she said.

Divorce resolution services involves six steps: 1) Introductory meeting to review the mediation process and determine whether the individuals can effectively mediate together; 2) identify the issues that need to be decided upon in order to obtain a divorce; 3) participate in an orderly process to develop a parenting plan and schedule and/or a review of financial resources to establish budgetary requirements following separation and divorce; 4) an agreement will be drawn up by the mediator and presented to the parties for their approval; 5) the agreement may be reviewed by independent attorneys chosen by the parties to assure their individual interests are met and their agreements are enforceable; and 6) the agreement is filed with the court by the parties or their attorneys.

"Mediation is all about developing cooperative solutions, not about winning or losing," Palmer said. "This process is designed to avoid a battle by working together to develop an agreement that is in everyone's best interest."

Co-parenting counseling helps divorcing or divorced parents focus on the best interests of the children. Emotions, anger, resentment and hurt must be set aside in order to focus on the children's happiness, stability and future.

"To effectively co-parent after divorce, parents must restructure their once intimate relationship to that of a business-like partnership," Palmer said. "In order to accomplish this, parents need to set aside the issues and feelings that contributed to their divorce and focus instead on the more important job of raising their children cooperatively."

For more information, call Palmer at (920) 743-9554 or visit the clinic's website at

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