If you have an active family law case, it generally means there has been a breakdown in a relationship between you and a significant other or spouse. Sometimes, couples can reach a friendly end to their relationship at their own kitchen table.  Other times, they may need some advice and guidance from an attorney to help put their agreement into a form that the Court will approve. Sadly, there are many couples, especially with children, who play out the drama from their relationship through their divorce or paternity matter for years.

This usually happens when one or both parents believes that things have to be his or her way.  The children should wear my clothing at my house.  The parenting time exchange needs to be at McDonald’s because I don’t trust you in my driveway.  Little Suzy can’t be around your girlfriend because I don’t like her.  The doctor we agreed to is not taking my side so I need a new one.  I’m not letting Jimmy use the cell phone at my house because you bought it.  And on and on.

There will be times when you and your co-parent do not agree; otherwise, your relationship and intact household may have continued.  If you find that everything is a battleground, perhaps it’s time to look into a Parenting Coordinator.  Parenting Coordinators are licensed mental health professionals or family law attorneys who are also trained as family law mediators and who have undergone specific Parenting Coordination training.  They are not acting as a judge or as an attorney in the case, but will first try to help parents reach resolution of the issue by mediating the issue.  Then if no resolution can be reached, they can issue a recommendation to the Court, which, so long as no objection is raised in a specified time period (usually 7 to 10 days, unless the issue is an emergency), the recommendation becomes an order of the Court.

Using a Parenting Coordinator can help co-parents resolve their issues more quickly than they would if they both have to take the issue to their counsel and ultimately to a judge, if they cannot agree.  And the cost of the Parenting Coordinator can be shared between co-parents, which lowers the cost to professionals overall.

While one parent – or both – may still feel that “their way” is the best.  However, with a Parenting Coordinator in place, at least there will someone essentially “on call’ to serve as a tie-breaker, and perhaps come up with a third way that works for everyone.

Both Elisabeth Edwards and Holly Wanzer serve as Parenting Coordinators for cases throughout Indiana, as contact with a Parenting Coordinator does not have to be in person.  If you believe your case or relationship with your co-parent could benefit from a Parenting Coordinator, speak with your attorney about how to get one appointed, and consider scheduling a free 30-minute consult regarding Parenting Coordination with Elisabeth or Holly.

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Elisabeth M. Edwards Attorney
Elisabeth M. Edwards is a founding attorney at Wanzer Edwards, PC where she practices in the areas of family law and divorce, including collaborative law, family mediation and arbitration, and Parenting Coordination. Ms. Edwards completed her undergraduate degree at Hanover College, majoring in English. She went on to earn her Juris Doctor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.