Parenting Coordinator, and do I need one?
Parenting Coordinators are individuals that assist parties going through a divorce or separation in parenting their children. It is exactly as it sounds. Generally, parenting coordinators are family law attorneys that know the way the court system works. Parents can agree, in their parenting agreement, to consult with a parenting coordinator (usually they will name someone) in the event that there is a problem between the parents with parenting. Parenting coordinators can also go as far as being the main source of communication between two parents who are unable to speak to each other civilly for mundane issues such as visitation scheduling, or make-up visitation scheduling.
Parenting coordinators are used as a way to try and keep parties that are otherwise very litigious out of court. Parties that are more civil with each other can use a mediator for this purpose, however, if the parties are unlikely to come to an agreement using a mediator, then a parenting coordinator might be more appropriate. Essentially, if Parent A has a complaint about the way Parent B is handling something, Parent A will contact the parenting coordinator to try and resolve the issue. The parenting coordinator can “take sides” and can recommend specific outcomes, which can be a good or a bad thing for the parties, and which is also different than a mediator, who is a neutral third party.
Parenting coordinators can be very expensive, but given the right circumstances, they are very useful. They can save costs that would otherwise be spent on litigation, and they can streamline the process. For example, if Parent A wants make-up visitation within the next three weeks and Parent B won’t provide it, and Parent A files a motion, it could be months before everyone is given time to respond and the motion is heard. A parenting coordinator can fit the parties in for an appointment, tell them what will likely happen if they go to court and try to work out the issue with the parties together.