What Is a Parenting Coordinator?

Parents work hard to make sure that their children are safe and raised in an environment where they can thrive.  When the parents reside together, they will work together toward that shared goal.  However, if the relationship falls apart and the parent’s divorce or separate, working together can become more complicated.  While the optimal situation will mean the parents will continue to cooperate, it is very common that the parents will have some potentially serious communication problems and differences of opinions during a divorce.  To that end, the parents may want to consider a parenting coordinator.

A parenting coordinator is defined as “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 commonly arise following a divorce or separation.  A parenting coordinator is not required in every case.  Instead, the court may appoint one where the parents are clearly having difficulty sticking to their agreed or court ordered parenting time schedule.  A parenting coordinator may also be appropriate where the case is particularly contentious, and the parents are simply incapable of communicating for the benefit of the children.

The parenting coordinator has two primary functions.  First, he or she is to smooth the process of decision making between the parents during the divorce or separation.  Second, the parenting coordinator can make recommendations to the parties as to how to resolve disagreements concerning their parenting time.  Having a parenting coordinator available to make recommendations to the parties and to the court is particularly useful because unlike the attorneys representing their respective clients, the parenting coordinator is a neutral party.  The suggestions he or she makes are not intended to help either parent gain an advantage, but rather to help the children and help bring the conflict to a conclusion.  Especially where one parent is narcissistic or attempting to alienate the children from the other parent, the parenting coordinator can identify these very serious issues and make recommendations to help minimize the damage to the children.  As narcissism and parental alienation can be very difficult to prove to a judge, the parenting coordinator can provide essential insight to help end the damaging cycle.

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