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What is parenting coordination?
Parenting coordination is a form of dispute resolution designed to help divorced or divorcing parents who are prone to conflict effectively co-parent their child or children. Parenting coordination is a way to monitor a family’s progress through education, mediation and case management, in order to ensure that parents are fulfilling their obligations to their child while complying with the recommendations of the court.
What is a parenting coordinator, and what do parenting coordinators do?
Generally, a parenting coordinator is a mental health or legal professional with specific training and experience in conflict resolution in how to effectively resolve custody related disputes between parents. Parenting coordinators work directly with both parents to help them come to a consensus regarding how to appropriately advance the best interests of their child or children. A parenting coordinator can hopefully restore the parents’ relationship to a point the parents can work through their conflicts constructively and minimize conflict to work together for the benefit of the children.
It is important to note that parenting coordinators are not Guardian Ad Litems, they do not give legal advice, and they do not represent either party. Parenting coordinators are independent parties appointed or chosen by the parties jointly to help parents co-parent more effectively and help parents make appropriate decisions regarding child custody related issues.
How can parenting coordinators help in a Georgia child custody case?
Parenting coordinators can be extremely helpful in a Georgia child custody case, especially a high conflict case, because he or she can resolve parenting issues that arise during the case, help parents reduce conflicts regarding child rearing decisions, and provide parents with the framework to establish the working relationship necessary for both parents to be effective co-parent during the custody case and afterward. Although parenting coordinators generally only assist parents with their decision making, with court approval, a parenting coordinator may make temporary decisions or minor changes concerning the parent’s visitation or custody schedule and parenting plan in order to help conflict prone parents who have demonstrated an inability or unwillingness to implement their parenting plan or make parenting decisions on their own. If an unresolvable impasse develops between the parties concerning a particular child custody or child rearing decision, the parenting coordinator may act as the final decision maker on that issue. Such action may not be well received by the parents, but the ultimate goal of a parenting coordinator is not to appease the parents, but to ensure that decisions are made that serve the best interests of the child or children involved.
Are communications with a parenting coordinator confidential?
Generally, parenting coordination is a non-confidential process. Throughout the process, they document parental behaviors and compliance in order to report their findings to the court or to the attorney involved. This is usually done through memos and, if necessary, by testimony to the Court. Although the parenting coordinator does not directly make recommendations or decisions concerning custody, the information provided by the parenting coordinator, such as how the child is functioning and the behavior of the parents, may assist the court in making a decision.
Is parenting coordination beneficial?
Parenting coordination is beneficial to parents and children because it:
- Increases the likelihood that two active parents will remain in the child's life.
- Educates parents regarding the impact of parental conflict on the child's development.
- Teaches parents anger management, communication and conflict resolution skills, and children's issues in divorce.
- Helps parents develop a detailed parenting plan.
- Communicates to parents that the children come first.
- Provides parents with prompt resolution to daily child-rearing issues.
- Monitors parental compliance with the court orders.
- Provides the Court with a comprehensive picture of the family in action with the coordinator’s reports and court testimony.