Understanding Parent Coordination
Parent coordination is a form of dispute resolution that aims to help separated or divorced parents make decisions for their children without the need for court intervention. It is a child-focused process that involves the appointment of a neutral third party, known as a parent coordinator, who acts as a mediator and facilitator and often has arbitration authority to resolve disputes so the parties can move forward.
How Does Parent Coordination Work?
Parent coordination works differently in different jurisdictions. However, the common goal of all parent coordination models is to support effective communication and cooperation between parents, while minimizing the occurrence of conflict.
A parent coordination process typically involves:
- An initial interview or assessment of the parents to evaluate the extent of conflict, identify the issues to be addressed, and establish the goals of the process.
- Development of a parenting plan that outlines the details of custody, parenting time, decision-making responsibilities, and other issues related to the upbringing of the children.
- Ongoing communication, facilitated by the parent coordinator, to help parents implement the parenting plan, manage conflict, and address any challenges that may arise.
- Provision of education and coaching to improve the parents’ communication skills, reduce hostility, and promote healthy co-parenting relationships.
The parent coordinator, who is usually a mental health professional, mediator or attorney with training in family law, can sometimes make decisions or impose solutions. However, they work collaboratively with the parents to come up with mutually agreeable solutions that suit the best interests of the children before they exercise any authority, if such authority has been given.
Benefits of Parent Coordination
The benefits of parent coordination are many and significant. Some of these benefits include:
- Reducing the need for court intervention: By helping parents to collaborate and communicate effectively, parent coordination can help to reduce the likelihood of return visits to court.
- Reducing conflict: High-conflict parental relationships can be stressful for children. Parent coordination helps to reduce conflict and provides a more stable, peaceful environment for the children.
- Improved communication: Through the parent coordination process, parents can learn better communication skills, which can positively impact their co-parenting relationship and communication with the children.
- Child-focused solutions: The parent coordination process prioritizes the needs and interests of the children, ensuring that any solutions or decisions made are in their best interests.
Parent coordination is a valuable tool for parents who are separating or divorcing. It helps to reduce conflict, improve communication, and provide a child-focused approach to decision-making. If you are a parent undergoing a separation, consider exploring the option of parent coordination to support the best interests of your children.
If you are interested in Parent Coordination, you can find many Parent Coordinators listed on our Amicable Divorce Network Membership Directory.