Do You Need a Parenting Coordinator?
Who are Parenting Coordinators and how effective are they?
Parenting Coordinators are licensed professionals, usually social workers or psychotherapists, who are trained in child development, high conflict divorce and domestic violence. They help develop a parenting plan while resolving disputes with the goal of improving communication between divorcing or post divorced parents.
While they work with the parents, their central attention is to uphold the best interest of the children and help the parents to do so too. In addition, to educating and recommending ways to solve conflicts, they may also monitor parents who are ordered, by the courts, to adhere to a specific parenting agreement or plan.
Parenting Coordinators have become a new and burgeoning business in some areas of the United States. They are typically assigned to divorce cases where there is ongoing contention and in high conflict child custody issues that take place during, and even after the divorce. They are court appointed which is precipitated by one or both attorneys because it is agreed that co-parenting, by one or both of the parties, is deemed impossible without the guidance of a parenting coordinator.
Parenting Coordinators services are non-confidential.
This means that through education, mediation and case management, the family’s progress is monitored to ensure that parents fulfill their obligations to the child(ren) and comply with court orders. The ultimate goal is to reduce the stress created by the high levels of conflict between the two parents. Although the ultimate goals of the parenting coordinator is to shield the children from conflict, teach parental cooperation, reduce future litigation and monitor any attempts at parental alienation, the coordinator has the ability, and is obligated, to report any non-compliance to the attorneys/courts, refer those involved for the necessary services should they require additional help and as a last resort, provide testimony in the child(ren)’s behalf.
If you are involved in a contentious divorce or your spouse/ex-spouse is violating parenting orders, it may behoove you to request that your attorney petition the court to request a parenting coordinator.
There are several reasons, listed below, why it may be in your best interest request a Parenting Coordinator.
- Stress reduction for your children by having the fighting between you and your spouse diminished. Children are extremely overwhelmed by parental fighting, even the nonverbal tensions.
- With less fighting, better decisions for the children can be made.
- Your children may learn better problem-solving skills instead of witnessing ongoing arguments.
- The use of a parenting coordinator may keep you out of court by resolving and making decisions without the use of a judge’s intervention.
- By reducing time in the courtroom and the use of better communication skills, more time quality time can be spent with your children.
Ultimately, the goal of everyone involved should be what is in the best interest of the children. If the parents find themselves at communication deadlocks, or their interactions are highly conflicted, a parenting coordinator may be a valuable source to diffuse the contention and increase healthier communication.
Adding a Parenting Coordinator to the mix during a contentious divorce needs to be considered carefully.
I discuss more about Parenting Coordinators in my Guidebook: Finding the Right Attorney.
Susan successfully crossed her own highly contentious divorce and post-divorce battle and was triumphant in her fight against Parental Alienation.
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