Parent coordinators (PC) are specially trained professionals who assist parents throughout the divorce process. Typically a Parent Coordinator is appointed post-dissolution, that is, after the divorce is final. It is uncommon to have a PC appointed prior to the actual divorce. Too often, in the case of divorce, children are caught in the crossfire between high-conflict parents. Co-parenting can be a big source of disagreement between parents after separation or divorce. When this is the case, a Parent Coordinator can assist the parents in implementing and/or interpreting the parenting plan.
The role of the Parent Coordinator is to help reduce conflict between the parents. He or she takes the time to gain an understanding of what is really going on within the family and helps to identify what is creating conflict and often meets with both parents separately, and possibly the children. This gives the coordinator better insight as he or she helps co-parents make the best decisions moving forward.
When an issue arises between the parents regarding their children, the parents can bring that issue to the PC, who will then work with the parents to come to a mutual agreement.
Parent coordinators help the court system and parents navigate and resolve conflict by:
- Meeting with parents and other participants
- Reviewing psychological, school, and other family records
- Consulting with relevant witnesses like psychologists
- Helping parents create timesharing (visitation) schedules and maintain compliance with them
- Mediating visitation or parenting disputes, which may include teaching the couple basic parenting and communication skills
- Sharing the children’s perspective with the parents and
- Counsel and educate children when a child refuses to visit the other parent
One of the many advantages to having a Parent Coordinator in place is the reduction of time in court. A PC can work with the parents to assist in making decisions, which can be accomplished in a much shorter period of time versus waiting for time on the court’s calendar. This is critical when the issue that the parents are disagreeing about is time sensitive.
Other benefits of working with a PC include improving communication skills within the family for both parents and children, reducing stress to allow parents to focus on what is best for their children, and providing access to information and resources to better manage future disagreements.
Working with a Parent Coordinator may be a good option for families transitioning into shared parenting, but as always, the needs of every family are unique. Discuss parenting coordination with your attorney or other trusted family law professionals to get an idea of how it could help your family situation.