Divorce or separation can be a difficult time, especially when children are involved. Co-parenting, while essential for the well-being of your kids, can be riddled with challenges and disagreements. Enter the parenting coordinator, a professional who can be your guide through this complex maze.
But what exactly is a parenting coordinator, and do you need one in your situation? Let’s untangle the confusion and explore how this role can benefit your family.
What Is a Parenting Coordinator?
A parenting coordinator is someone who assists parents who are no longer together in working out issues related to their children without going to court. These professionals are typically family law attorneys, mediators, social workers, or psychologists.
The Family Law Act categorizes a parenting coordinator as a professional in family dispute resolution. According to this act, these professionals must inform their clients about resources available to help settle their disputes.
The main role of a parenting coordinator is to help parents come to an agreement on specific issues. This process is designed to make resolving parenting matters smoother and less stressful for all involved.
What Is a High Level Conflict Custody Case?
A custody case with a high level of conflict is not the same as every custody case. While all custody cases involve some conflict, the high-conflict ones deal with more serious issues. A high-conflict custody case is one where parents consistently show one or more of the following:
- Excessive litigation
- Anger and distrust
- Verbal abuse
- Physical aggression or threats of physical aggression
- Communication and cooperation problems in caring for minor children
- Other conditions the judge considers needing a parenting coordinator
In a typical custody dispute, it’s normal for parents to face challenges in communication and cooperation, along with some level of anger and mistrust. However, a high-conflict custody case is set apart by the persistence of these problems and the addition of more serious issues like physical or mental abuse. It’s important to understand that not all cases are the same, and the intensity of the problems is what makes a custody case high conflict.
Should I Hire a Parenting Coordinator?
Parenting coordinators play a key role in assisting parents with co-parenting and resolving daily disputes to minimize conflict. They make decisions for the child and help in reaching agreements on various matters. These decisions may cover:
- Parenting/Contact Schedule: This includes planning when and how the child will spend time with each parent, including details about exchanges.
- Child’s Education: Addressing important aspects of the child’s schooling and education.
- Participation in Extracurricular Activities: Deciding on the child’s involvement in after-school or other activities.
- Child’s Health: Managing routine medical, dental, or other healthcare needs for the child.
- Discipline: Resolving issues related to how the child is disciplined.
Parenting coordinators streamline this decision-making process efficiently, allowing parents to reach agreements without the need to go to court. Their goal is to make co-parenting smoother and reduce conflicts by addressing these day-to-day concerns.
What Is a Parenting Coordinator NOT Allowed To Do?
While parenting coordinators can assist with many aspects, there are certain matters they cannot handle, such as:
- Changing Guardianship: The coordinator doesn’t have the authority to alter who has legal guardianship of the child.
- Changes in Parental Responsibility: Matters related to modifying parental responsibilities fall outside the coordinator’s jurisdiction.
- Transferring Parental/Contact Time: The coordinator cannot decide to give someone else the time with the child that was initially granted to a parent.
- Significant Changes in Parenting/Contact Times and Child Relocation
Even though they can’t address these specific matters, coordinators can still support parents in finding ways to make decisions collaboratively. Their focus is on helping parents work together effectively, but certain legal and major decisions require other channels.
For How Long Can I Work with My Parenting Coordinator?
After signing the parenting coordination agreement, the coordinator typically helps the parties for a two-year term. However, the services of a parenting coordinator can be terminated in specific situations:
- Mutual Agreement: If the parties agree to hire the coordinator, they can jointly decide to end the arrangement.
- Court Application: A party has the option to ask the court to terminate the coordinator’s services.
- Coordinator’s Decision: The coordinator can choose to end the relationship.
- Court-Appointed Coordinator: If the court appointed the coordinator, a party must apply to the court to terminate their services.
There are specific conditions under which the services of a parenting coordinator can be terminated.
Hiring a parenting coordinator can be a valuable step for high-conflict parents seeking to improve their co-parenting relationship and prioritize their child’s well-being. However, it’s important to understand the potential challenges and ensure both parties are prepared to actively participate in the process for it to be successful.
Parenting coordinators are a valuable and helpful solution for resolving disputes in custody cases, particularly in high-conflict situations. They serve as a calm, safe, and neutral space amidst the storm of anger, hurt, hatred, and conflict.
In these challenging and potentially harmful cases, parenting coordinators play a crucial role in supporting children and parents. They provide immediate relief by offering short-term solutions and also offer lasting assistance by teaching parents the skills needed for a more positive, harmonious, and promising future for their children and themselves.
Find Clarity & Calm with Successful Solution’s Online Parenting Coordination
Don’t let high-conflict custody drown your family in stress. Successful Solution‘s online parenting coordination offers a safe, neutral space to navigate disagreements and prioritize your children’s well-being. Skip the courtroom and experience the power of online collaboration. Schedule your FREE consultation today and discover how Successful Solution can help your family thrive.