Highly-charged emotions and unresolved conflicts can persist for years after a divorce or break-up. These emotions and conflicts often become the focus, and when children are involved their needs can become diminished. Parenting coordination is a way to maintain the focus on the children by protecting and sustaining safe, healthy and meaningful parent-child relationships. Parenting coordination provides a child-focused process for developing and implementing parenting plans for parents who are experiencing a high level of conflict. Parents are assisted with a timely and efficient resolution of disputes that focus solely on the needs of the children. Parenting coordinators monitor parenting plan compliance and quickly resolve conflicts that involve the children.

Do you need a Parenting Coordinator?

As part of the co-parenting coordination process, the parenting coordinator is an impartial third person who remains non-judgmental, sets a cooperative tone and empowers both parties to effectively co-parent. Unless there is a written agreement between the parties, the court may appoint a qualified parenting coordinator to develop and implement a parenting plan. Other circumstances that may require a parenting coordinator include high conflict parental relationships that don’t respond to co-parenting counseling; a pattern of frequent litigation; ongoing disputes about implementing a parenting plan; parents not communicating, not making decisions or not complying with court orders, and children suffering as a result of parental conflict.

Why Parenting Coordination is Effective in helping families?

The parenting coordination process helps high-conflict parents in a number of ways but most importantly educates them about the detrimental effects that ongoing conflict has on their children and models how to communicate effectively about their children. Parenting coordination helps parents resolve conflicts by teaching conflict resolution and problem-solving skills. It also helps parents understand and implement their parenting plan.

 

Parenting Coordinator Knowledge and Skills

Parenting coordinators must integrate some of the skills of a mediator, therapist, evaluator, educator and case manager. They must know legal terminology, the law and legal rules. They must understand mental health counseling theories, family dynamics, the effects of divorce and conflict on children, conflict resolution and de-escalation techniques. They must meet state professional qualifications such as being a mental health professional or a mediator, and then complete parenting coordination training to become a court appointed qualified parenting coordinator.

Dr. Lee Ann Lehman is a Palm Beach-based parenting coordinator in the 15th, 17th and 19th circuits. She is a certified Florida Supreme Court family mediator and family psychologist whose practice includes family therapy, couple’s therapy and relationship counseling. Dr. Lehman is a trusted provider of family mediation services, bringing empathy, honesty and dignity for both parties during the mediation process to help them deal with the changes and challenges of separation and divorce.