If you are currently going through a divorce and have children, you already know how difficult and emotionally draining the entire process can be. Unfortunately, when divorce involves children, it often results in a complicated and emotional custody battle. Parenting coordination can help significantly in these situations to help parents navigate high-conflict custody cases and come to an agreement that works for them and their families. A good family lawyer can assist you with this process.
Often, parents reach agreements about custody and timeshare, only to find that as their children grow older, these agreements need to be modified by a formal process in the courts. Parenting coordination is a child-focused process of dispute resolution. It combines parent education, dispute assessment, facilitated negotiations, and conflict communication management to settle parenting disputes.
In California, each county can create parameters for parenting coordinators. In Monterey County, for example, county laws permit the courts to appoint a parenting coordinator in divorce cases involving child custody or visitation, as long as both parents agree and the court approves.
Is Parenting Coordination the Same as Co-Parent Counselling?
The short answer here is no. Co-parent counseling is different from parenting coordination. Co-parent counseling is not a means of dispute resolution but rather a form of therapy that helps parents learn how to become effective co-parents after a divorce or separation. While co-parent counseling can be a helpful way for parents to learn to focus on their children rather than their differences, it does not provide a formal means for co-parents to settle disputes and avoid going to court.
What Does a Parenting Coordinator Do?
A parenting coordinator could be an attorney, a mediator, or mental health professional. As an unbiased, neutral third party, a parenting coordinator’s job is to help co-parents manage their parenting plan and resolve disputes that may arise.
To qualify as a parenting coordinator, a person must obtain the proper license and have received at least six hours of child domestic abuse training. The individual must also have forensic training on high-conflict families, child development, relocation, family court law, informed consent, abuse, and other such issues.
The parenting coordinator could be appointed by the co-parents or by a judge. When appointed by a judge, their responsibilities can also include monitoring the co-parents to observe how each adheres to the parenting plan. A parenting coordinator cannot modify custody or make legal custody decisions, but they can help co-parents avoid the courtroom by:
- Meeting with parents to resolve disputes
- Interviewing family members, doctors, schools, and others for relevant information
- Offering advice
- Settling disputes over holiday scheduling
- Providing solutions for child healthcare, discipline, and school issues
- Making recommendations to the court on custody and parenting time
What Are the Benefits of Parenting Coordination?
Parenting coordination can be highly beneficial to co-parents, especially those struggling to agree on parenting and child time decisions. A parenting coordinator can resolve conflicts quickly and help save time on attorney’s fees. Additionally, with a successful parenting coordinator, the parents can focus more on putting their children’s needs first. Finally, a successful and well-trained parenting coordinator can reduce conflicts between the parents. These benefits will result in fewer parenting plan modifications and enforcement motions, which means less time spent dealing with attorneys and judges in court.
It is vital to choose the right parenting coordinator for you and your family. The point of parenting coordination is to resolve complex and emotional issues smoothly and efficiently. Going through a divorce and custody battle is difficult enough, and you don’t want to deal with a parenting coordinator who doesn’t work for you and your family. Make sure you do your research and find an experienced parenting coordinator who understands the nuances and difficulties involved in your particular situation.
Consider Parenting Coordination
At Seabrook Law Offices, we offer parenting coordination and can help you understand its benefits. If you are going through a difficult divorce, you should learn how parenting coordination can help you. One of our divorce attorneys, Elizabeth Voorhees, is specially trained in both Mediation and Collaborative Law and has over 20 years of experience in Family Law.
Attorney and founder Paul Seabrook is an experienced divorce and family lawyer with a strong teaching and education background. At Seabrook Law Offices, we can help you set up parenting coordination and make a difficult custody dispute as painless as possible. We will help you avoid spending more time and money in court so you can move on with your life. Give us a call at 408-560-4487 or complete the form on our website to schedule your consultation.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.