Separated parents sometimes benefit from the assistance of an objective third party to resolve issues. This is especially true in cases involving extremely high conflict parents. Constant litigation is expensive, exhausting, and detrimental to the children. It also takes away time, effort, and resources that could be better focused elsewhere. Because each parent feels strongly about an issue, it is often difficult for them to see the other side or work out a compromise. A parenting coordinator can help bridge this gap.
A PC can be considered similar to a referee. Each parent has an opportunity to state their position to the PC. The PC can gather information, perhaps speak to the children, and ultimately make a ruling. Since the goal of working with a PC in the first place is to avoid litigation, the process is less formal, less expensive, and usually allows quicker solutions than drawn-out court disputes.
A PC can be appointed anytime during or after a legal case. The parties, often with the help of their attorneys, agree on the role and authority of the parent coordinator. Issues regarding duration of service, payment, frequency of contact, etc. are also usually addressed in a written agreement. A parenting coordinator’s legal authority, however, is limited. The PC cannot award or change legal custody or child placement to a parent. The PC’s authority is usually limited to resolving decision-making issues between the parents. This authority can extend from significant issues like school choice and medical care, to relatively minor, but frustrating, disputes regarding nutrition, bedtime, homework, etc. These latter issues are often the source of great annoyance and focus between the parents because they affect everyday life. However, they are not the type of decisions that courts are set up to efficiently resolve. Thus, the parenting coordinator is a valuable resource to resolve disputes quickly and efficiently.
We can serve as parenting coordinators, working with parents and their attorneys to establish proper roles and resolve disputes timely and effectively.