What is Parenting Coordination?
Parenting Coordination is a non-adversarial child-focused form of dispute resolution that is used most often in cases where parents (post-dissolution) have ongoing patterns of conflict involving decisions regarding their child(ren).
These enduring conflicts usually encompass minor issues and can utilize valuable court resources and time. The Parenting Coordinator, who is qualified and specially trained in high-conflict resolution, helps the co-parents avoid litigating non-legal parenting disputes. Parenting Coordinators can benefit parents that have frequent disputes about issues such as the parenting time schedule, childcare, discipline, exchange of information, extracurricular activities, exchange times, transportation and locations, educational options, medical and religious decisions. Disputes discussed with the Parenting Coordinator can be resolved in a more time efficient manner, rather than waiting for the court’s availability, which can sometimes take several weeks. Additionally, the cost of using a Parenting Coordinator is small in comparison to what it can cost to litigate such issues with an attorney. Parenting Coordinators can be extremely productive in creating a workable parenting plan and motivate the parties to follow the established orders.
During the process, the Parenting Coordinator facilitates the resolution of disputes through guidance, education, and recommendations. Parents can discover ways to reduce conflict and distrust, manage emotions, effectively communicate with each other, set boundaries, establish expectations, understand different points of view and develop their ability to co-parent their child(ren) in a healthy and constructive manner.
A Parenting Coordinator can be court ordered or both parties can voluntarily agree to use one and notify the court of that decision. Additionally, either parent can petition the court to appoint a court-ordered Parenting Coordinator.
“Our lives are not dependent on whether or not we have conflict – it is what we do with conflict that makes the difference.”
Appointments with the Parenting Coordinator may be jointly and/or individually conducted. Additionally, phone and email communication may be utilized. Unlike a mediator, a Parenting Coordinator may visit with the child(ren) and consult with other family members, caregivers, teachers, doctors, attorneys, therapists or other people directly involved with the family in order to learn about the dynamics within the family. They can also have access to evaluations, reports, court orders, criminal records, educational records and other sources relevant to the parents and children. In some instances, the coordinator can make decisions for the parents if they are unable to come to an agreement amongst themselves. The Parenting Coordinator can also make recommendations to the court. However, a Parenting Coordinator cannot modify time-sharing between the parents, the primary residence of the child(ren), or modify child support obligations.
Indy Family Mediation and Parenting Coordination focuses on: 1) assisting co-parents in understanding the impact of conflict on their child(ren), 2) identifying common parenting goals, 3) exploring different options in meeting those goals, and 4) helping parents to reach a mutual agreement so that their child(ren) can flourish and live in a happy and emotionally healthy environment.