What To Know About Hiring A Parenting Coordinator In Custody Matters
You have a court order for custody and parenting time. The order has a detailed schedule, instructions for pick-ups and drop-offs, and an arrangement for paying for the children’s expenses. Still, you and the other parent have disagreements about certain aspects of parenting your children. Going back to court can be very expensive and difficult; it just does not seem worth it. At the same time, the bickering is getting old. You may be wondering if there is anything you can do.
The good news is that there is another option. It is possible to hire a parenting coordinator to help settle family disputes when trying to parent together.
Musulin Law Firm, LLC, in Burlington County, has worked with many clients throughout South Jersey who have divorced and are now dealing with custody issues. Attorney Christopher R. Muslin has more than 33 years of experience in family law cases when helping clients decide if parenting coordination is right for them.
With a parenting coordinator’s help, issues involving children can be resolved without filing motions or waiting weeks to go to court. Another benefit is that the parenting coordinator becomes familiar with the family and its particular needs. A parenting coordinator can minimize misunderstandings and help improve communication to reduce conflict in the long term.
If you and the other parent agree to use a parenting coordinator’s services, the first step is to have a quick court order prepared by consent. When done by consent, there is no need to appear in court. The order will identify the parenting coordinator and contain other details. By agreement, the parties can delegate minimal authority to the parenting coordinator to make final decisions on smaller issues.
The order will also include procedures for involving the parenting coordinator in a disagreement. In most cases, the parenting coordinator agrees to be “on-call” and will respond to either parent’s emails to initiate discussion on an issue. Once one parent raises an issue, the order will provide a time period for the other parent to respond. The parenting coordinator may then schedule a meeting with the parents by phone or video conference if any discussion is needed to have a more informed understanding of the issue and assist the parties. If a discussion is not necessary, the parenting coordinator may give a determination.
The Authority Of The Parenting Coordinator
The parenting coordinator is first a facilitator of consent and agreement. If the parenting coordinator cannot facilitate an agreement, they can make a call on the issue when the order gives this limited authority. When the order does not give the parenting coordinator authority to make the decision, the parenting coordinator can prepare a letter to be shared with the court based upon either parent’s request.
Letters sent by a parenting coordinator tend to carry significant weight as the parenting coordinator’s history of working with the parents gives him/her special insight into their dynamics and behaviors. This makes the parenting coordinator’s role fail-safe. If a parent is being unreasonable or purposefully difficult, they know the judge will ultimately hear about the misconduct. Knowing this can happen tends to encourage both parents to be cooperative.