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What Are Divorce Planners and Consultants?

Dear Visitor:

My name is Dr. Reena Sommer and I am a divorce planner and consultant. I specialize in helping people effectively manage highly contested divorce and custody cases. My areas of expertise include: custody disputes including the parental alienation syndrome (P.A.S.) and false allegations of sexual abuse, parental capacity, family reunification, addictions and domestic violence.

For most people, divorce is usually (and thankfully) a one-time experience. Because of this, it is easy to understand why most people are ill-equipped to deal with the emotional, legal and financial challenges this difficult life transition presents. Unfortunately, most people going through a divorce do so on their own and struggle to make important life influcencing decisions at a time when they are least prepared to do so.

Divorce is made even more challenging when children are involved. Issues of money, fear of losing one's children, anger, and revenge often interfere with parents' ability to appropriately consider their children's needs and interests at a time when they are also most vulnerable, Specifically, too often parents fail to clearly consider how they plan to ensure that their children's needs and interests are met immediately and as they grow and mature. Instead their focus is on winning the "custody dispute".

Given the rise in the number of contested custody cases and the stress that goes along with them, there is an increasing need for parents to avail themselves of assistance from a professional who has with expertise in the areas of divorce, custody disputes, child development, family dynamics, the parental alienation syndrome and domestic violence. In recent years, the assistance of a divorce and trial consultant is becoming an important component of a divorce support system - much in the same way that divorce attorneys and accountants have been,

The services provided by divorce planners and consultants compliment but do not replace the services provided by divorce attorneys. Divorce planners and consultants SUPPORT, EDUCATE AND GUIDE people through the emotional, practical and strategic aspects of the divorcing process such preparing for custody evaluations and trials, developing parenting plans, formulating strategies based on case analysis for negotiating settlements or developing legal agruments and, overseeing family reunification efforts. We also assist our clients' attorneys with expert testimony and preparing clients and witnesses for court testimony.

Divorce & Trial Consulting Services



Divorce Coaching - A Useful Tool to Help People Survive the Divorcing Process

Divorce coaching is an important tool in assisting individuals cope with the stresses of divorce. Divorce coaching helps people become informed and emotionally ready to make important decisions about their lives and their futures (including those of their children). Divorce coaching helps people deal with the turmoil and uncertainty that often comes with a divorce particularly those that are highly contested. Divorce coaching is valuable in assisting people to adapt to any number of major changes that may result from divorce (i.e., lifestyle, financial, family and social orientations). Divorce coaching helps people become grounded by normalizing the strain of divorce and providing useful feedback during difficult times. It also gives people a safe place to vent their frustrations, anger and sadness with a professional divorce coach skilled to manage a wide variety of issues that arise during the divorcing process.

Divorce coaches provide invaluable assistance to clients and their attorneys in their combined goal of reaching timely and reasonable settlements. In the long run, clients find using a divorce coach to be a very cost effective service overall. This is because divorce coaches are better trained to address the practical and emotional aspects of divorce than attorneys. By assisting clients to overcome some of the hurdles encountered during divorce negotiations, clients are able to move through the process with fewer disputes that result in escalating legal fees. Additionally, since clients are better informed, they are able to provide clear and effective instruction to their attorneys. This translates into time and money saves.

DISCLAIMER: A divorce coach DOES NOT provide legal advice on divorce. You must go to a divorce attorney for that. However, a divorce coach can address many other issues that attorneys are not trained to do. They also work with attorneys to formulate an effective divorce strategy for their clients.

Some of these issues involve:

  • taking stock of one's needs and requirements as a preface to formulating a divorce settlement stratgey
  • supporting your child during a time of change and adaptation
  • learning how to reconstruct emotional boundaries when interacting with your ex
  • coping with difficult litigation and understanding the litigative process
  • coping with your own frustration, anger and grief
  • finding a balance between the divorce process and getting on with life

For clients seeking ongoing coaching, support and consultation, we will be pleased to provide fee quotes based on specific needs and requirements. For more information about our fees and services click here


Consulting Services for Divorce Attorneys

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Divorce and custody cases pose a growing challenge for divorce attorneys and the courts. More so than ever before, the custody of children is being disputed in court. With the trend toward joint custody, the increase in dual income families, and as people accumulate more wealth and assets, the stakes associated with custody disputes increase as well. As a consequence, attorneys and their clients are in need of more creative approaches to reaching timely and reasonable settlements.

Divorce and custody consultants provide invaluable assistance to divorce attorneys in offering their expertise and knowledge in areas such as child development, family dynamics, domestic abuse, parenting, parental alienation syndrome and more. These are areas that attorneys rarely have in depth knowledge or experience. Combining a divorce consultant's expertise in these areas with an attorney's legal skill, makes it possible to develop an effective strategy even in the most challenging cases. With this type of assistance, a divorce attorney will have a decided edge when it comes to making convincing and credible arguments to the opposing counsel or before the court.

Dr. Reena Sommer & Associates is an internationally recognized divorce and trialconsulting firm. Its clients come from across Canada and the U.S.A. and even as far away as India and Australia. Some of the services provided include:

  • reviewing & critiquing custody evaluations for methodological flaws
  • assisting lawyers to develop questions for cross examinations and discoveries
  • making submissions to the court on various family related topics (i.e., addictions, domestic abuse, parental alienation syndrome, teenage parenting, attention deficit disorder, etc.)
  • conducting observations of children and parent interactions

Inquiries about our services are welcome. An intial consultation is provided without obligation. For more information about our services and fees click here.


Review & Critique of Custody Evaluation Reports

The purpose of a custody evaluation is to help parents resolve a custody dispute by providing direction to them about how to best meet their children's needs and interests once they divorce. Custody evaluations generally offers recommendations about which parent should have primary residence, access for the non-residential parent and how the parents should manage responsibilities for their children's care.

As previously suggested, the ultimate goal is for parents to use the recommendations of the evaluation report to direct further negotiations and hopefully reach an out of court settlement. Unfortunately, this is not always possible in an increasing number of highly conflicted cases. In fact, in many of these cases, the custody evaluations become another weapon to be used adding to instead of reducing the acrimony and conflict that already exists. It is in these cases that the Court is left to make decisions for you and your children.

When court involvement cannot be avoided,it is important to be aware that this too presents a very difficult challenge. Too often parents feel that going to court is the best option without considering its downside. It is important to recognize that the decisions made in court will be by a judge who knows very little about you, your children or your family circumstances. When the court becomes involved in these matters, the decision making is guided primarily by rules of evidence, precidents and legal procedure. The human elements that should be taken into consideration are often missed. That is why custody evaluations are relied upon so heavily by the court. As such, it is absolutely imperative the parents fully inform themselves about the custody evaluation process.

If a custody evaluation is not done properly, then the court may be relying on information that is incomplete or faulty. If you and your attorney are in strong disagreement with the evaluator's findings and recommendations or you have reason to believe that it was not conducted appropriately. you must promptly and effectively challenge the evaluator on not only on substantive issues in the report but more importantly, on methodological flaws in his or her procedures.This is where a critique of your report may be helpful.

A divorce and custody consultant with expertise in conducting custody evaluations can conduct a thorough critique of a custody evaluation report and suggest to clients if there is a basis for challenging it. A divorce consultant will be able to review your file including investigations, testing and home studies that have been conducted by psychologists, social workers or other mental health professionals. A complete review would also include critiques of the evaluator's procedures, findings, and conclusions of the evaluations in question.

In many cases there are significant weaknesses in each area or the individual conducting the evaluation might not have sufficient training and/or expertise to offer the opinion he or she has made. There are instances when particular issues may have been overlooked and this may be the result of an evaluator's lack of expertise and experience in that area. For that reason, a review of the custody evaluator's Curriculum Vitae (CV - or academic resume) may provide further grounds for challenging the custody evaluation. Similarly, some evaluators will dismiss or discredit a parent's concern such as the parental alienation syndrome without having the expertise that will allow them to do so.

An effective critique of a custody evaluation will provide divorce attorneys an opportunity to challenge a custody evaluation and prevent its findings from being given any weight in court. Attorneys can also be further assisted in preparing for an effective legal attack (i.e., development of affidavits/depositions or cross examinations).

Inquiries about our services are welcome. An intial consultation is provided without obligation. For more information about our services and fees click here.

Parental Alienation Syndrome Consultations

The Parental Alienation Syndrome (P.A.S.) is becoming recognized as a serious negative outcome of divorce with potentially dangerous consequences to children and the targeted parent. In its most basic form, P.A.S. involves the deliberate severing of a healthy and positive relationship between a parent and his or her children where the children become actively involved in the relationship's demise. Unfortunately, parents, attorneys and judges are grossly under or misinformed about P.A.S. Because of that, P.A.S. is not identified in a timely fashion and appropriate interventions are lacking.

Parents who observe any sudden deterioration in their relationship with their children and where their children are overtly hostile without cause, should consider exploring the possibility that the P.A.S. may be developing - particularly if their separation is acrimonious.

A divorce and custody consultant with expertise in the P.A.S. will be able to assist parents identify if this is a valid concern and identify ways of sparing children the emotional pain and stress that result when they are caught in their parents' crossfire. A P.A.S. expert can help parents understand the harm being done to their children through their actions, helping them find peace and reassurance in leading a life separate from each other and helping them develop effective ways of co-parenting. The challenge for lawyers is to discern whether the actions taken and allegations made by a client are based on genuine concerns for their child(ren)'s safety and well-being, or motivated by revenge, leverage for child support, fear of losing his/her children and the role of father/mother.

Dr. Reena Sommer supports clients' and lawyers' efforts in addressing the enormous challenges associated with PAS cases. Here are some of the ways she can be of assistance:

  • providing coaching and support to parents who are wrongly denied access to their children
  • working with families to re-establish contact between children and parents
  • conducting PAS assessments to determine or discredit PAS and to ascertain whether allegations of abuse are bona fide or bogus
  • reviewing and critiquing assessments conducted by custody evaluators who have failed to identify PAS
  • consulting with lawyers on how to question suspected alienating parents and/or suspected alienated children and how to develop strategies for case development
  • providing expert testimony on PAS, parenting & domestic abuse



ARE YOU IN THE MIDST OF A NASTY DIVORCE?

We invite your questions and inquiries without obligation.

Please call our toll-free line
1 (866) 98-REENA
between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (central time)
Monday through Friday.

If you are unable to reach us directly,
please leave a detailed message with your name and phone number.

We will make every effort to return your call promptly.



For clients seeking ongoing coaching, support and consultation, we will be pleased to provide fee quotes based on specific needs and requirements. For more information about our fees and services click here

Family Reunification & Reintegration Consultations, Services & Programs

The bond children have with their parents is essential for their development, their self concept and their self esteem. A healthy parent-child bond provides children with the framework for how they view themselves and the world around them. More importantly, it sets the blueprint for how they form relationships with others. The importance of this bond cannot be over stated or under estimated.

Sometimes events or situations occur which prevent the parent-child bond from being formed or disrupts a bond that previously existed. Some circumstances that may be responsible for this happening include:

  • A child may not have established a relationship with their biological or birth parent because of adoption or separation from that parent at birth because of geographic distancing and/or because the relationship between the child's parents broke down. Some times a parent chooses not to establish a relationship with the child because he/she feels at the time, it is not in the child's best interest to do so. Often times, a father is not even aware of his child's existence and as a consequence, he never had an opportunity to form a relationship with the child.

  • A parent's physical and mental illness or events that alter a parents' ability to function and relate to his/her child at times might have a significant impact on a relationship with his/her children. Some illnesses or medical/psychiatric conditions such as stroke, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, drug and alcohol addictions or brain injuries, may result in impairments in the affected parent so great that it might be difficult for a child to continue his/her relationship as it once was.

  • A divorce and its fallout often leads to disruption in children's lives. During this time, children might become hostile toward one or both parents. Most often this disruption is brief and resolves in itself within the first year post separation. However, there are times when it is difficult to sustain a relationship that once particularly when a custodial parent relocates.

  • The most serious consequence of divorce is when one parent deliberately attempts to distance their child or children from the other parent. It is even more painful and devastating to the children and the affected parent when the children engage in the alienating process. Without intervention, preferably swiftly, the chances of re-establishing the important parent-child bond and repairing the relationship becomes increasingly difficult as time goes on.

Needless to say, re-establishing a relationship and/or repairing a damaged or disrupted relationship requires the participation of parent and child, strong social supports and tremendous patience. During custody cases, the court is usually involved but often ineffective. There are no guarantees that a parent's efforts will be successful, but what is certain is that if no effort is made, the chance of realizing any improvement is remote.

Dr. Reena Sommer of Strategic Divorce Planners has extensive experience and success in helping estranged parents reconnect with their children with or without court involvement.

Constructing a family reunification program with the greatest chance for success involves several steps including:
  • reviewing the file documents

  • separately interviewing the parents/guardians and children

  • identifying children's concerns and if and under what circumstances children might be willing to reconnect with their parent.

  • In cases of P.A.S., challenging children's reasoning and rationales for hating the targeted parent

An essential element in re-establishing and repairing a damaged bond between parent and child in P.A.S. cases is reconstructing old memories and establishing new ones utilizing a variety of approaches including games, crafts and photo albums. Children often benefit from using email as it provides a nonthreatening way to communicate with others.

Inquiries about our services are welcome. An intial consultation is provided without obligation. For more information about our services and fees click here.

Divorce and Custody-Related Information Products


Children's Adjustment To Divorce
If you are parent caught in a custody battle, Dr. Reena Sommer's fully referenced e-Report will provide the ammunition you will need to win your case.

For more information about valuable e-Report...

click here now

 

Developing an Effective Parenting e-Course
Dr. Reena Sommer's two-part set-by-step interactive downloadable audiotapes teach divorcing parents how to develop a parenting plan that will ensure that their children's interests are met and that parent-child relationships are maintained.

For more information about this two-part e-Course...

click here now

 

Divorce 101: Things You Are Unlikely to Hear From an Attorney!
Dr. Reena Sommer's one hour interactive downloadable audiotape provides insightful information on what you need to know if you are either considering divorce or in the midst of one!

For more information about this e-Course...

click here now

 

The Divorce & Custody Resource Handbook
Dr. Reena Sommer's FREE eBook provides readers access to information on divorce and custody which is completely available online.

For more information about this e-Book...

click here now

 

How to Avoid the Ten Biggest Divorce Mistakes
Dr. Reena Sommer will provide you with the information you will need to avoid making costly and painful mistakes during the divorcing process.

For more information about this e-Book...

click here now

 

Divorce Primer
The Divorce Primer provides you with a single information source on Divorce and Separation issues in an easy-to-read plain English format.

For more information about this e-Book...

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How To Legally Save Thousands on Your Divorce
Michael Daniels' "How To Legally Save Thousands on Your Divorce" will show you how to pick a GREAT divorce attorney, or get the most out of your EXISTING attorney and STILL legally save MASSIVE amounts of money on your Divorce!

For more information about this e-Book...

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A Practical Guide To Deciding Whether or Not To Get A Divorce
A Practical Guide To Deciding Whether or Not To Get A Divorce is a "no-nonsense" guide to making that very important decision about ending a marriage and going on to divorce. It's clear, concise and makes a heck of a lot of sense. This is a "must read" for sure!!

Download a FREE condensed 10 page version
of this e-Book...

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Lifeline After Divorce
Lifeline After Divorce is a powerful step by step program to guide the Divorced, or anyone who has ended a significant love relationship, to a positive recovery

For more information about this program...

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Divorce Dad's Survival Book
David Knox's "Divorce Dad's Survival Book" shares his own experiences going through the divorcing process. The information he provides is sure to be of benefit to any parent going through the challenges of divorcing with kids.

 






Dr. Reena Sommer,
M.Sc. (Family Studies),
Ph.D.(Psychology & Family Studies)

Divorce & Custody Consultant
League City, TX. 77573
Phone: 281.534.3923
Dr. Reena Sommer


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