Family Law

Parenting Coordination

As a parenting coordinator, Katie works with families (post-divorce) to implement their parenting plans in order to minimize conflict and restore parenting relationships. A parenting coordinator is a neutral third party appointed by the court to facilitate the resolution of future disputes, in a timely manner, by educating parents about the children’s needs. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, a parenting coordinator has the ability to make decisions within the scope of her authority, as defined by the prior approval of the parties and/or the court.

A parenting coordinator is child-focused and utilizes the tools of assessment, education, case management, conflict management, coaching, and decision making to help parents continue to co-parent without the need of court intervention. As a parenting coordinator, Katie is a valuable asset to manage conflict and stress, while a family transitions.

What are the benefits of a Parenting Coordinator for Parents?

Parenting coordination is designed to help families function as co-parents in separate households. A parenting coordinator assists parents in bridging the gap between their differences in order to collectively make decisions that are in the best interest of the children. This process helps reduce the children’s stress that results from the parental conflict by creating an optimal environment at home.

Most importantly, parenting coordination encourages parents to shy away from court when issues arise by providing them an opportunity to find resolutions that will not negatively affect them, both emotionally and financially. The cost is shared between the parties and less expensive than hiring lawyers to negotiate disagreements or challenges that may arise.

What are the benefits of a Parenting Coordinator for Children?

Parenting coordination provides parents a healthy mechanism to work through issues to achieve a successful implementation of their parenting plan. Children are thereby shielded from the exposure of disagreements, which can put them at risk for social, academic, and mental health problems. Parenting coordination promotes the children’s optimum adjustment, and increases the likelihood of keeping both parents active in the children’s lives.

What services can a Parenting Coordinator provide?

A parenting coordinator serves a myriad of roles to help parents continue co-parenting. The role and duties of the parenting coordinator can be adapted to fit a particular family’s needs.   The parenting coordinator can perform the following services:

  • Case Management: A parenting coordinator acts as the liaison between the parties, counsel, professionals, and other service providers to keep families organized, working towards common goals and interests, and on-track to avoid future disputes. She understands the needs of children and can make professional recommendations, as well as coordinate services for children including, but not limited to, ensuring that children and parents attend court ordered or agreed upon counseling; both parents have access to school calendars and records; and neither parent is withholding parenting time or other information from the other parent. She helps parents hear the same information regarding the provided services without direct contact from the other party. A parenting coordinator may monitor compliance with the existing parenting plan to ensure successful transitioning.
  • Education / Coaching: A parenting coordinator helps parents understand and appreciate their new roles. She assists parents in learning to understand a child’s development, and how to operate in a single-parent home. She helps families set boundaries, to ensure that the child has a healthy upbringing. A parenting coordinator coaches parents in developing skills to allow the family to adapt to new circumstances. She provides encouragement, guidance, and empathy to those who need the support to get through difficult family times.
  • Conflict Management / Problem Solving / Facilitated Negotiations: When a conflict arises, a parenting coordinator works with the parents to problem solve creative solutions. The process is similar to mediation where the parties discuss the issues to reach agreements, which provides both parents control over the outcome. A parenting coordinator uses a wide range of conflict resolution strategies to enable the parties to make decisions for their children. With the help of the parenting coordinator, the parents focus on communication and setting priorities that will help them manage. As a result, parents become equipped to resolve day-to-day issues.
  • Decision Making: If the parents cannot reach an agreement, a parenting coordinator has the authority to render a decision, as a last resort. The parenting coordinator will submit a written recommendation to the court, and the parents maintain the right to object to that decision. Decision making cannot include changes in custody, residence, parenting time schedules, or child support.

What can a Parenting Coordinator do?

When a family utilizes a parenting coordinator, the parenting coordinator agreement is tailored to the family’s individual needs.  The following sets forth potential issues that may be given to the parenting coordinator:

  • Minor changes to the parenting time schedule including vacation, holidays, or a brief variation for one parent needing additional time for a special event;
  • Transitioning the children including date, time, place, transportation;
  • Health care management;
  • Child rearing and day-to-day decision making;
  • Managing mental health or counseling;
  • Monitoring psychological testing or other assessment for children and parents;
  • Education or daycare‐school choice, tutoring, summer school, special education testing, and advanced placement;
  • Scheduling of extracurricular activities including camps and jobs;
  • Religious observance and education;
  • Child’s travel and passport arrangements;
  • Exchanging clothing, equipment, and child’s personal belongings;
  • Communication between parents about children via telephone, email, notes in backpack, etc.;
  • Altering child’s appearance including haircuts, tattoos, piercings;
  • Role of and contact with significant others and extended families;
  • Substance abuse assessments and testing for either or both parents or a child, including access to results; and,
  • Parenting classes for either or both parents.

What are the benefits of a parenting coordinator for the legal community?

It becomes both tedious and inefficient for lawyers to manage all post-decree disputes.  By appointing a parenting coordinator, lawyers can deflect “non-legal” issues to a designated professional who will handle the conflict with the parents directly. This process saves time for the lawyers, and saves money for the clients.  While all family issues are important, some issues may not rise to the need for a lawyer. The lawyer can focus on the legal issues, while the parenting coordinator can focus on case management and implementation of the already existing parenting plan.

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