Dr. Jane McNaught is a Child Specialist
Dr. McNaught moved her office last year to the Collaborative Alliance in Edina, MN. Since then, Dr. McNaught has begun to work with collaborative and non-collaborative attorneys as a “Child Specialist”. As a Child Specialist, Dr. McNaught uses her over 30 years of experience in divorce custody and child development to assist attorneys and parents who are looking for help in forming cooperative parenting plans. In this role, Dr. McNaught works with the parents from the time they decide to separate until they complete their final parenting plan. The process begins by the Child Specialist meeting with the parents to identify their long-term goals for their children as well as their future parenting relationship. Following this initial joint meeting, Dr. McNaught meets with each parent individually to discuss any concerns they may have about their children or the other parent. The next step is for Dr. McNaught to meet with each of the children to evaluate their current emotional functioning and adjustment to the news of the parents’ separation. Dr. McNaught then utilizes the information obtained from the children to incorporate the child’s needs into her subsequent work with the parents in developing a post-divorce parenting plan. In the process, Dr. McNaught is available to assist the parents in telling the children about the divorce as well as the upcoming changes in their family. Dr. McNaught is also available to provide information about child development, as it relates to the children’s adjustment to divorce, as well as consultation regarding parenting issues and temporary parenting plans. After meeting with each of the children as well as parents, Dr. McNaught then assists parents in drafting a developmentally appropriate parenting plan. In this process Dr. McNaught’s meetings with the children assure that the children’s voice is heard in this decision-making process. Further, by meeting with both the children and parents, Dr. McNaught assists the parents in having a continuing relationship with the children that maximizes each of their strengths as parents.
Divorce is Tough on Kids- What’s Your Plan?
A Child Specialist is not an advocate, custody evaluator, or therapist. The Child Specialist does not write a report or testify in court. Instead the Child Specialist assists the parents in drafting their own parenting plan that meets the needs of the children and satisfies the requirements of the law. The plan the parents develop then becomes part of their final Judgement and Decree. The goal of the Child Specialist is to help the parents work together instead of against one another. In the process of drafting their parenting plan, Dr. McNaught assists the parents in developing productive, respectful communication. The ultimate goal is to assist the parents in creating a foundation of good communication that allows them to work together as they continue to parent their children after the divorce. The Child Specialist is also a continuing resource for the parents to use in the case of future concerns about the children, or in the event changes need to be made to the parenting plan.