Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Work With a Parent Coordinator
If you’ve come to a roadblock with a disagreement between you and your child’s other parent, you may want to seek the help of a parent coordinator. If mediation has not previously worked, or seems inappropriate for the situation, parenting coordination is an alternative dispute resolution method that may be better choice. Additionally, parent coordinators can be appointed by a judge to help with high-conflict parents.
In this article, we’ll provide an indepth overview of parenting coordination.
What is the difference between a Co-Parenting Counselor vs Parent Coordinator
Let’s first level set and define the difference between co-parenting counselors, mediators and parent coordinators.
Co-parenting counseling is similar to therapy with a mental health professional who can help the praents learn to work together more effectively.
Coparenting mediation is a legal process to avoid going to court, is done with both parents’ attorneys and a third-party mediator.
Parent coordinators are professionally trained attorneys who work with parents to effectively manage their coparent plan. These people are typically court appointed by the stipulation.
What is the difference between mediation and seeing a coparent coordinator?
A mediator’s job is to meet with the parents and deal with any conflicts that they are facing. A mediation is typically done with each party and their attorney. The mediator will listen to both sides speak and find any common themes or issues. Then, the mediator will talk with both parents to help work on agreeing to a resolution. This can either be together or separately.
Mediators won’t make the hard decisions for you, though. The parents are ultimately the ones that will make the final decision. The mediator will guide you along the way and help you to create the plan that will be best for everyone in the family.
Working with a mediator does have a lot of benefits for you and your family. Ultimately, speaking with a mediator will result helps to avoid going to court. Since they are a neutral third-party, the mediator will help to focus on resolutions in the best interest of the kids. The benefit of mediation is typically that after hours of arguing, there will be a resolution at the end of the day. This will help reduce longer term stress, and provide for more peace.
Parenting Coordinator FAQ
How much does a parenting coordinator cost?
Expect to pay around $200 per hour. This will vary depending on the attorney, location and other factors. The fee is evenly split between both parents.
How often do you go to a parenting coordinator?
At first we would go monthly to meet with our parenting coordinator. As our issues became more high conflict, that shifted to less frequent meetings, and then no meetings altogether. You will likely not be in a similar situation. However, for parents that cannot agree, a parenting coordinator is an unbiased third party who is there to help you come to a resolution. So, it’s worth it at the end of the day.
What can parent coordinators do?
Parent coordinators will help a variety of topics. A few include:
- Schedules, locations and logistics for transitioning between households.
- Participation in extra-curricular activities
- Childcare arrangements
- Clothing agreements
- Discipline and behavior management of children
- Information and communications, including school, health, and social updates
- Budget and reimbursement needs
- Communications coordination between children and parents
- Clarification and minor modifications of provisions in the court-ordered parenting plan
What parent coordinators cannot do?
A parenting coordinator is NOT a judge. Parent coordinators provide recommendations, but they cannot update the court order or stipulation.
What are parent coordinator requirements?
For additional information, check out the American Psychological Association’s Guidelines on Parenting Coordination.
How to prepare for your parent coordinator meetings
Once you’ve decided to work with a co-parenting coordinator, you may be wondering how to prepare.
First, each parent needs to put together an agenda of issues they want to discuss. I would suggest limiting it to three topics. This will help the mediator to see what each parent feels is important to talk about and guide the discussion. Examples of things you may want to put on your agenda are differences in family rules, education issues, and transportation/custody exchanges, just to name a few.
As you head into your meeting, you also need to prepare yourself. Go into the meeting ready to be honest, collaborative, and focused on your child’s best interests. It’s important to be respectful throughout the meeting and demonstrate a willingness to cooperate. This will help the meeting to go smoothly and will put you and your family one step closer to having a compromise where everyone is happy.
Be sure to take notes during the meeting. We have a high conflict situation, and I’ve found it helpful to take notes in a Google doc, and send it to my ex and our parenting coordinator to (1) ensure that what I understood was accurate (2) address action items clearly (3) document our agreed upon actions.
For other tips on how to be an effective coparent, check out our blog.
The Bottom Line
Conflict is never easy in a co-parenting situation, and it can be extremely frustrating to deal with. Thankfully, co-parent mediators are there to support and help you make the best decisions. They can help to save you from a lot of pain and stress. As always, working with one might not give you a perfectly clear answer, but they are a great asset to help. If you have worked with a co-parenting mediator or considering using one, leave a comment about your experiences or share this article so other can know about the support that’s out there.