Do You Need a Parent Coordinator?

- Gary E. Williams

In high-conflict divorce cases, where the parties are unable to reach a resolution, the conflict is often centered on children and time-sharing issues. Florida family court has a strong mandate to make sure both parents stay involved in the ongoing care and support of their children, but when divorced parents have so much animosity toward each other that they cannot successfully co-parent, figuring out a reasonable parenting plan can become a prolonged, expensive and emotionally draining enterprise.

Working with a parent coordinator can help. A parent coordinator is trained to use alternative dispute resolution skills in child custody cases. Co-parenting is rarely easy, especially when former spouses are not communicating with each other effectively. Hashing out issues with a neutral third party outside the courtroom can give both parties a healthy perspective and help them learn how to use better communication and decision-making skills to make co-parenting less stressful in the long term.

Parent coordinators provide the following services:

  • Educate about child development and parenting skills
  • Identify sources of the conflict
  • Facilitate better communication
  • Encourage collaborative decision-making
  • Provide guidance for resolving practical issues in the parenting plan

Florida family court may refer high-conflict custody cases to a parent coordinator and can do so before or after the Parenting Plan is entered by the Court. However, your family divorce lawyer may be able to recommend a qualified parent coordinator at an earlier stage to help you formulate a mutually agreeable parenting and time-sharing plan.