Getting a divorce is rarely an easy task. When it comes to divorcing with children, many parents become so emotionally involved, that it is hard for them to see things rationally.
Recently, the state of Florida made parent coordinators available to high-conflict divorcing or divorced parents. The parent coordinator will aim to help parents with deep disagreements resolve conflicts, make positive decisions regarding their children and abide by parenting plans.
Parent coordination will take place as a result of a court order or an agreement between the parents. The coordinator won’t take the place of an attorney or family therapist, but will instead be focused on shielding children from the conflicts between parents and helping parents learn conflict resolution skills and develop a parenting plan that works.
The parenting coordination process is similar in some respects to mediation and arbitration. Parenting coordinators will help parties separate issues related to their children from other disputes between the parties. Once the issues affecting their children are isolated, a parenting coordinator will help the parties agree to a solution that is in the best interest of their children. If an agreement cannot be reached, a parenting coordinator may arbitrate the dispute for the parties if authorized to do so by the parties or a court order.
Parenting coordination is different from mediation and arbitration in that parenting coordination: allows a parenting coordinator to independently gather information about a dispute; educates parents about the impact of conflict on their children; and teaches communication skills to parents.
Depending on the court’s order granting authority, parent coordinators will be able to make limited decisions for the parents regarding some issues. Parent coordinators will not be able to permanently or substantially change parental time-sharing arrangements or custody. Fees for parent coordinators will be split between the parents, as determined by the court. The court will be able to order a parent coordinator at any time in the divorce process. The coordinator can be part of any post-divorce modifications as well.
In those cases where the court does not order a parent coordinator, though, parents may still choose to involve a coordinator. Often, such a person may help to resolve lasting disagreements and eliminate costly litigation, so parents may choose to bring a parent coordinator into the process by mutual agreement.
If you are working with a parent coordinator, or handling any aspect of a child custody dispute, it is important to ensure that you fully understand your options. Speak with a knowledgeable family law attorney who can provide effective advice and guidance.
Family law issues can become extremely complex. Securing strong legal representation from an attorney who knows Florida divorce law is the first step toward the outcome you deserve. If you are concerned about what will happen to your children, the future of your home and other assets, or the overall costs of divorce, please schedule an initial consultation with experienced family law attorney.