Despite having a detailed parenting plan in place, some co-parents just aren’t able to work together to raise their children — particularly when the wounds of the breakup are still open. They may find themselves constantly mired in disputes or unable to communicate at all. That’s where a parenting coordinator can help.
Whether a court has deemed a parenting coordinator necessary or you and your co-parent have agreed to hire one on your own, it’s essential to know who these professionals are and what their role is. The latter will vary based on the unique needs of the family, as well as what the court may authorize. Early in the process, coordinators will talk with parents separately and together, as well as with the kids, to get a feel for the family dynamics and the issues behind the conflict.
The primary focus of the parenting coordinator is what’s in the children’s best interests. While parents may believe that they’re arguing for what’s best for the kids, in fact, they’re thinking and actions are often driven by their animosity toward each other. Parenting coordinators are neutral parties who work with parents to help them resolve disagreements and learn to better communicate with each other. They offer recommendations and, if given the authority, may make decisions. The guiding document is the parenting plan.
It’s only natural to bristle at the idea of someone telling you how to parent your children — particularly if it’s been ordered by the court. However, constant conflict between you and your co-parent is detrimental to your kids. Anything that helps minimize the stress they’re experiencing is in their best interests.
By learning how to communicate with each other and work together to solve problems and disagreements, parents can become good role models for their kids. They’re also able to focus more time and energy on their kids and less on dealing with each other.
Finally, a parenting coordinator can help you stay out of court. They can help you resolve issues on your own rather than by calling your attorney.
Maricopa County parenting coordinators come from a variety of backgrounds. Many are psychologists. Some are even attorneys.
If you’re going to be working with a parenting coordinator, whether by choice or court order, it’s essential to use this professional’s expertise to learn how to share custody of your children.