Approximately 21.9 million children under 21 had a parent who lived outside their household in 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. With their parents divorced, separated, or never married, it’s likely these children have undergone custody battles either inside or outside of the courtroom.
Every case is different. In some, custody decisions may be made without any assistance from the court or a mediator, while others may be determined by the latter or a family court judge. Some divorces may be civil, pleasant and easily decided, while others can turn into ugly custody battles and petty fights involving the children.
In either you may want to enlist the help of a parenting coordinator. Depending on your state and the nature of your divorce, a parenting coordinator may be court mandated. There’s no need to be dismayed, however. The parenting coordinator is only assigned to ensure your children remain a priority and don’t get caught up in the conflict of your divorce.
A parenting coordinator is a trained professional who assists both parents in managing their parenting plans and upholding the best interests of the child. This specialist can be appointed at the beginning of the divorce process, and continue their efforts after the divorce and custody plans have been finalized. Considering an ample number of co-parents continue to engage in conflict in the years following divorce, it may be beneficial to have a neutral third party mediate disputes and ensure the child’s health and well-being is at the forefront of every discussion.
To fully understand the advantage of engaging a parenting coordinator during your divorce, DivorceForce has outlined the many benefits they provide.
Implement Plans & Provide Resources
The main goal of the parenting coordinator is to mediate and implement plans between parents. These can be developed with input from the co-parent or based on the sole recommendation of the coordinator, depending on the nature of the co-parents relationship. If it’s volatile and toxic, the coordinator may be mandated by the courts to create a strategy that’s in the best interest of the child without any help from the parents. If the parents are on better terms, however, they usually have the opportunity to take part in this process. It’s a coordinator's job to develop plans such as custody and visitation, the children’s education, outside intervention, and an overall co-parenting plan. The coordinator will document all meetings and decisions made.
Parent coordinators also typically have access to resources that a family or the court system may not. They’ll be able to recommend classes, books, and videos for you and your family to watch about divorced families, and how they deal with certain issues. The coordinator can also recommend other professionals, such as family therapists or child psychologists. Because parent coordinators have years of experience working with them, they may be the best sources of information.
Facilitate Communication & Resolve Conflict
Throughout the planning process, one of the coordinator’s major responsibilities is to facilitate communication between parents and resolve any conflicts that arise. The common issues parents often disagree on include schooling, such as public or private and college funds; visitation times and dates; holidays; camp payments; non-emergency medical care; religious affiliations; and after-school activities.
If tensions run high, the coordinator must identify the reason, and resolve it. A parenting coordinator may also make the parents aware of how their animosity and aggression toward one another could impact the child. They may educate the parents on how to respectfully communicate with one another, see the issue from the other parent’s perspective, and understand how to reach a compromise.
Reduce Litigation & Cost
Because the parenting coordinator will facilitate communication between you and your ex, this can reduce the need for litigation. If you can both get along and make decisions together with the help of the coordinator, you won’t need to keep paying your lawyer. This can reduce the overall cost of your divorce, and expenses spanning into following years. Instead of paying your lawyer hundreds of dollars an hour to get involved in a holiday visitation dispute, the parenting coordinator can remind you and your ex to stick to the previously agreed-upon plan and enforce it.
Less Stress for You & Your Child
The parenting coordinator can help alleviate the stresses of you and your child. If you hate dealing with your ex, the professional will make the experience more palatable and pleasant. There won’t be as much fighting about visitation, holidays, or other issues, because the coordinator will set a plan for you both to follow. After a few sessions, you two will be working together to make decisions in your children’s best interest.
Not only will this help you attain much-needed peace of mind, your child will feel a weight has been lifted off their shoulders, too. Because you and your ex are solving problems and developing plans together, your child won’t feel as though they’re in the middle of your argument. They also won’t feel as pressured to take one parent’s side over the other. Schedules and routines will also help them feel more confident and secure.
To find a parenting coordinator to help you develop a plan for your family, check out our listings. DivorceForce has curated a database of the best parenting coordinators for you to browse and review.
Gregory C. Frank is the CEO and Founder of DivorceForce.