The Co-Parenting Institute

At Ellie Family Services we believe in what we do.

We are dedicating to creating wellness services that enhance and create better outcomes for everyday families. The Co-Parenting Institute was developed to help meet the growing need of blended families. Whether in the beginning of a divorce, troubled relationship, unhappy marriage, or just a few people trying to help raise their kids, we provide services to help fill the gap in services provided to blended families with an emphasis on co-parenting to create more cohesion, happiness, and less stress for all the people involved.

The creator of the co-parenting institute is not only a marriage and family therapist with advanced training in co-parenting, discernment counseling, and mediation, but she is also a stepmom. Throughout the battles that often take place when trying to parent your own children, or someone else’s, she knows firsthand many of the obstacles it takes to create effective communication between 2, or more people in order to be the best parents we can be

There are many approaches to co-parenting (whether you’re married or divorced), working with blended families and addressing communication goals, but at Ellie we do it different. Our foundation of all of our services stem from the relationships we build and how people communicate with each other at an emotional (or often subconscious level). People are often uncomfortable talking about their “feelings” but what we have learned is that without talking about them, our problems in relationships keep returning because instead of cutting of the fuel, we just keep putting out daily fires which is very intense, stressful, and not without damage. Since talking about our feelings can often be intimidating, frustrating (that’s a feeling word!), or down right uncomfortable, at Ellie we have created and utilized strategies that make this process rewarding from the first appointment.

The goal is one. Raise our children to the best of our ability so they grow up to be good people. The co-parenting institute will help you do just that, with a whole host of other added benefits.

The Co-Parenting Institute might be able to help you if:

  • You’ve always wanted a good relationship with your ex or soon to be ex
  • Your kids are sick and tired of being put in the middle
  • You never want to have a parenting blunder that ends in a disaster, EVER. AGAIN.
  • You think “this should be much easier.”
  • You’re tired. Of stress. And fighting. And nagging. And hating. Ugh.
  • You’re going through a divorce and want to make it easier for yourself and your kids
  • You’re dealing with difficult behaviors with your child
  • You have trouble letting things go or struggle with conflict
  • You hate your kids step parent
  • You need to develop a backbone to fight for what matters to you
  • You want things to be fair and to raise your kids to be good people

Co-Parenting Packages

Achieve Package

  • Intake Session for Co-Parents
  • 2 individual sessions for each parent (up to 2 parents and may include significant other)
  • 4 Joint Sessions
  • 1 parenting plan
  • Free attendance for 2 guests at our co-parenting class (meets the state requirements for contested divorce, $250 value)

$1,350
($400 savings over fee for service)

Note: some individual sessions may be billed using your health insurance. We also offer sliding fee scale services for those who meet income guideline requirements. Please talk to one of our representatives to see if this may apply to you.

Succeed Package (recommended)

  • Intake Session for Co-Parents
  • 3 Individual Sessions for each parent (up to 2 parents and may include significant other)
  • 6 Joint sessions
  • 1 parenting plan
  • 1 review of parenting plan
  • Free Attendance for 2 guests at our co-parenting class (meets the state requirements for contested divorce)
  • Free summary of services for each party (if needed for records, or court)

$2,000
($600 savings over fee for service)

Exceed Package

  • Intake Session for Co-Parents
  • 4 individual sessions for each parent (up to 2 parents and may include significant other)
  • 8 Joint Sessions
  • 1 parenting plan
  • Free attendance for 2 guests at our co-parenting class (meets the state requirements for contested divorce, $250 value)
  • 3 review sessions of parenting plan (within 1st year)
  • Free Attendance for 2 guests at our co-parenting class (meets the state requirements for contested divorce)
  • Free summary of services for each party (if needed for records, or court)
  • Priority Scheduling with co-parenting experts

$3,000
($700 savings over fee for service)

Custom Package

  • Intake Session
  • Flex 6-8 individuals sessions (may include several members of family)
  • Flex 6-8 joint sessions (may include several members of family)
  • 1 Parenting Plan
  • 3 Reviews (up to 2 years post plan)
  • Free attendance for 2 guest at our co-parenting class (meets the state requirements for contested divorce)
  • Free summary of services upon completion of sessions

$2,500 – $3,000

Fee for Service:
Intake Session (60 Minutes): $200
Individual Session (50-60 Minutes): $150
Joint Session (50 to 60 Minutes): $150
Parenting Plan (50-60 Minutes): $150
Co-Parenting Class (6.5 Hours): $125/Person
Summaries/Letters to the Court/ Collaterals: $45 / 15 minutes

Co-Parenting Class

This class is not your ordinary co-parenting class. Its fun, filled with rewarding info, and a really great “life skills” class for reducing overall stress in all your relationships. This class focuses on the mandate areas designated by the state of MN rules for co-parenting but includes a focus and emphasis on parent goals, tips and tools for easier transitions for adults going through divorce/breakups, as well as interactive communication exercises. Each participant goes home with a folder full of resources, and Lunch (full day class) and snacks are included!

The Co-Parenting Class is offered in person (6.5 hours) and in an on-line/in-person combination class (4.5 hours on-line, 2 hours in classroom) to allow for maximum flexibility while still retaining essentials gained from in-person learning.

$125/Person

Groups

We offer a plethora of groups for co-parenting and blended families. Typically groups run 6 weeks and include up to 8 people per group. Because Ellie focuses on customizing groups, we offer our clients to pick group topics and we will CREATE your dream group. Private closed groups or creation of new groups per your request are welcomed! We will accommodate custom, private, and groups listed below if there is enough interested participants out of the rotation. We offer the following groups on a rotating, quarterly, or customized basis:

Stepmom Group
Stepdad Group
Mom Group
Dad Group
LBGTQ Parent Group
Blended Family Spouses Group
Managing Anxiety in Relationships
Family Communication Strategies (includes kids 8 and up!)
Parenting Plan Group

Most of our groups are offered in the evening or on the weekends, when we know families are available. Often times we offer teen groups at the same time as the adult groups at Ellie. See if your groups align on our Calendar and bring the whole family!

$30-$50/person per group
(for quotes on custom or private groups please contact one of our representatives)

Mediation Services

What is it?

Therapeutic mediation is the blending of traditional therapy practices with the facilitative aspects of traditional mediation. Therapeutic Mediation is an approach with two goals in mind: 1) to provide an environment for family members to engage in emotional healing and 2) to develop a plan of action that is fair and promotes family wellness.

Ellie Family Services utilizes healing techniques to help alleviate the often difficult emotions that are experienced by individuals in relationships. We offer conflict resolution strategies in an effort to help initiate cooperative and direct dialogue as people move through the mediation process to develop a healthy and child-focused plan that works best for your family.

What does it cost?

Research shows that taking the time to process through core emotions attached to relationships increases our ability to access problem solving skills, increases positive emotions, and allows our brains to heal from difficult times in our past. Clients who go through the therapeutic mediation process can typically expect to resolve conflict and the underlying emotions that contribute to contention in their relationship. The therapeutic mediator often serves as an accountability partner to keep each person focused on the process and the ultimate goal of doing the best we can for our family.

* Insurance may be billed after meeting with the provider to determine if there are associated health impacts of divorce or the meditative process.

What’s the Process?

Clients are either court ordered, referred by other professionals (doctors, attorneys, other counselors, etc.), or they voluntarily engage in the process.

Upon intake the therapeutic mediator will begin to understand the history and family dynamics and create a plan for ongoing sessions with the family. This can include joint sessions, individual sessions, more therapeutic (emotion based) sessions and some more logistical meditative sessions. The process is fully customized to what the family needs and can include behavior plans, parenting plans, joint household action plans etc. Therapeutic mediation can take anywhere from 6 sessions to unlimited sessions and often times clients continue to work with their therapeutic mediator until their children are grown (this is sometimes referred to as co-parenting therapy) This can include check-ins, plan renewals, short term conflict resolution, and coaching. Each client has equal access to the therapeutic mediator at any point in the process.

Why Therapeutic Mediation?

Research shows that taking the time to process through core emotions attached to relationships increases our ability to access problem solving skills, increases positive emotions, and allows our brains to heal from difficult times in our past. Clients who go through the therapeutic mediation process can typically expect to resolve conflict and the underlying emotions that contribute to contention in their relationship. The therapeutic mediator often serves as an accountability partner to keep each person focused on the process and the ultimate goal of doing the best we can for our family.

Social Early Neutral Evaluations (SENE)

Social Early Neutral Evaluation (SENE) is a brief and confidential evaluative process intended to support more timely conflict resolution for families impacted by parenting matters. SENE is for divorcing parents or parents who have never-married who are involved in a court case because they disagree on custody, parenting time or parenting plans for their joint children. SENE moves families through the court process as quickly, fairly, and inexpensively as possible. SENE often cuts costs by reducing number of expensive evaluations and aims to reduce conflicts between the co-parents. Recommendations are provided to the parties and their attorneys based on the information gathered by the evaluators. Please contact Ellie Family Services to determine if an SENE process would helpful to you and your family.

Who are good candidates?

– Divorced or divorcing parents (pre or post-decree)
– Step parents and blending families
– People who need help with the initial discernment process
– High conflict family members
– Divorcing couples without children

What about the kids?

Kids are resilient. They can navigate through divorce. What we’ve learned is they have increased risk factors when exposed to high conflict, especially in the parental system. Therapeutic mediation can help keep you focused on the strengths you each bring to the co-parenting relationship to ensure your children feel Safe, Supported, and Secure. You can expect to have customized plans, ideas, skills and outcomes catered to your specific family needs, and reduced conflict for the rest of your time as co-parents.

Other Services

Ellie Family Services offers a full suite of customized and therapeutic services. Please inquire with our staff regarding therapy services for you or one of your family members. If you are requesting services that Ellie does not offer, we encourage you to leave us some feedback.  As a fully customized wellness practice, we are happy to incorporate new ideas to help better the lives of every day families!