What Is a Parenting Coordinator?

The end of a marriage or relationship is clearly difficult for the people directly involved in that relationship.  When the parties also share children, the children usually become the central focus of the case.  Parents always want what is best for their children, but in a divorce, they may not be able to agree on what that means.  During a divorce, tensions can run high, and parents may not be able to stick to parenting time agreements.  When this happens, a court may decide to appoint a parenting coordinator.

A parenting coordinator is “a qualified neutral person appointed by the court, or agreed to by the parties, to facilitate the resolution of day to day parenting issues that frequently arise within the context of family life when parties are separated.”  In general, parenting coordinators have two main roles.  First, their job is to help facilitate the decision-making process between divorced or divorcing parties.  Clearly, divorce is an emotional time, so having a neutral third party to help with decisions can be very helpful.  Second, the parenting coordinator may also make recommendations to the court about what is in the child’s best interest.  Unlike a mediator, a parenting coordinator can testify in court.  In other words, nothing the parents tell the parenting coordinator is confidential or protected by rules of evidence.   When the parents cannot agree on what is best for the child, the parenting coordinator can testify at trial about the statements the parents have made to him or her, as well as other observations the coordinator has made that are relevant to the best interest determination.

There are no specific qualifications to become a parenting coordinator, and people with any educational background may enter the training program.  That said, parenting coordinators are usually mental health professionals, such as counselors.  These types of people are ideal as coordinators, as they are already familiar with the tools and skills necessary to help divorcing parties move forward and deal with difficult situations and feelings.  Parenting coordinators can be especially helpful in cases involving parental alienation.  A parenting coordinator is a neutral third party, so unlike an attorney, the coordinator does not advocate for either parent.  Instead, the coordinator can tell the judge about any alienating conduct by either parent so the judge can be fully informed before making a best interest determination.

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Are you interested in seeking an annulment? If so, contact Williams Law Group, LLC right away. Our family law attorneys will review your case to determine if an annulment is an option. If it is, we will guide you through the process and ensure you make the best decisions for your future. Call our office at (908) 738-8512, email us at info@awilliamslawgroup.com, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation.

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