What is parenting coordination?
Parenting coordination is a process in which an impartial third person, appointed by the court in a family case, helps the parties implement their parenting plan. A Parent Coordinator facilitates the resolution of disputes between parents and/or legal guardians. A Parent Coordinator educates the parties as to the child(ren)’s needs, makes recommendations to the parties, and (with prior approval of the parties and the court), makes decisions within the scope of the court’s order of appointment.
Who are Parent Coordinators?
A Parent Coordinator is a professional qualified pursuant to Fla. Stat. §61.125 and who must have completed specific training and met national training standard guidelines. A Parent Coordinator must have experience in the following disciplines: family systems theory, developmental psychology, high conflict divorce resolution techniques including mediation, children adjustment issues specific to divorce including parental alienation, domestic abuse, and knowledge of the legal facets of divorce.
A Parent Coordinator meets with the parties (together and/or separately) to identify areas of conflict and may meet with the child(ren). Additionally, the Parent Coordinator will work with the parties towards the mutual goal of resolution by prioritizing disputes and facilitating resolution. A Parent Coordinator endeavors to reduce the child(ren) being exposed to parental conflict and hostility.
Why would we need a Parent Coordinator?
- Because parenting coordination helps high conflict families resolve their disputes outside of court and reduces the excessive use and cost of litigation.
- Because parenting coordination serves as an alternative dispute resolution method where high conflict cases with child related issues are not suitable for mediation or mediation was unsuccessful.
- Because parenting coordination helps families through conflict, resulting in a more intact family unit, even if separated. Parenting coordination reduces the harmful effects of conflict, which jeopardizes the well-being of child(ren).
When would a Parent Coordinator be deemed necessary?
The court may appoint a Parent Coordinator to a family case to assist high conflict parents with compliance with court orders concerning shared parenting. The court may appoint a Parent Coordinator when:
- The parties have failed to adequately implement their shared parenting plan in relation to the child(ren).
- Mediation has not been successful or has been determined by the court to be inappropriate.
- The court finds that appointment of a Parent Coordinator is necessary to protect the child(ren) from harm caused by the parents’ failure to implement the shared parenting plan.
- The court finds that there is a need for a Parent Coordinator to protect and sustain safe, healthy, and meaningful parent-child relationships.
- The court has entered a temporary or final order setting out the nature and extent of the contact between the child(ren) and each parent.
Some important things to consider:
- The process of parenting coordination is not confidential, which means that matters discussed do not fall under HIPPA protection.
- A Parent Coordinator is not a social investigator, a parenting plan facilitator, a mediator, an individual or family therapist, a financial advisor, an attorney or legal representative of the client, or a guardian ad litem. These are all different roles and an individual is only permitted to fill one role.
- If you have questions regarding the parenting plan process, why you are being subjected to undergoing the process, or have any complaints about the ultimate goal of the process of parenting coordination, you are directed to speak to your attorney, as the Parent Coordinator is bound by agreement reflected in the court order.