A Parenting Coordinator, or “PC” is a family law attorney or mental health professional who is appointed by the court to assist parents after a divorce or paternity decree. If parents have difficulty communicating and frequently engage one another in unproductive ways during their attempts at co-parenting (also called “high conflict” parents), a PC may be useful. The specific job of the PC is unique to every case and depends on what the court has ordered, but generally a PC can assist with communication, mediate disputes and serve as a tie-breaker when parents have reached an impasse on a child-related issue. PCs may also be directed to monitor and direct medical care or set up counseling. PCs are NOT counselors, however, and no communications with the PC are confidential. A PC can be called to testify in Court in some cases.
PCs frequently assist co-parents in setting a parenting time schedule and mediating disputes that may arise from joint legal custody, such as school choice, medical treatment or religious training. Once appointed, the PC is available to the parties – usually via email or phone – and can usually provide guidance or resolution within days or weeks, rather than waiting months to get guidance from the court. This not only conserves the parents’ attorney fees, as the PC’s hourly fees are split between the parents, but it helps the [parents resolve issues and move forward, rather than festering and further deteriorating the co-parenting relationship. No topic is “too small” for a PC to address. A court is generally concerned with what it perceives to be “major issues” relating to the child, such as school, religious training, medical care, payment of expenses and child support, custody and parenting time. However, the PC can address more day-to-day issues such as disciplinary techniques in both houses, timing of scheduling medical and counseling appointments, presence of step-parents at appointments and events, and the like. Any issue that gets in the way of clear communication and co-parenting between parents should be addressed and resolved so as to get back to productive and peaceful co-parenting.
If you and your co-parent could benefit from having a less expensive tie-breaker and mediator to assist you in your co-parenting relationship, contact the Parenting Coordinators at Wanzer Edwards to get started.