Law Office of Heidi M. Crimins 

Can a parenting coordinator help?

Following a parenting plan after a divorce or separation can be difficult. Shared parenting has been ordered by the Court. Now what? Have the conflicts with the other parent regarding the minor children suddenly stopped just because you have this signed order? How about communication; did the judge signing that Order make it so that you and the other parent magically start effectively communicating? Likely not. Many parents have no real idea what shared parenting is much less how to incorporate it in their day-to-day lives. Quite often it is rarely the big, life-altering issues that cause the greatest amount of conflict between parents. The majority of conflicts are over altering agreed upon drop-off times, exchange locations or changing timesharing schedules.

A parenting coordinator may be able to help you and the other parent with just these type of issues. Parenting coordinators help parents by teaching them how to make decisions together and reduce daily conflict over ordinary decisions. By assisting parents in resolving these issues, parenting coordinators can reduce and often eliminate much of the litigation and court involvement that often occurs with the ongoing parental conflict, saving the parents time and money.

One of the most important benefits, is parenting coordinators can reduce the overall conflict that the entire family experiences when parents cannot get along, cannot make decisions or cannot communicate. This benefits the most defenseless victims of high conflict parenting: the children.

What exactly are parenting coordinators?

Parenting coordinators are a child focused-method of alternative dispute resolution used in moderate-to-high conflict family law cases. A parenting coordinator is a neutral third-party brought into a case to reduce the level of conflict by helping parents to make decisions together and communicate more effectively when it concerns the parenting of their children. Parenting coordinators help in a variety of ways. First, they help the parents improve their communication skills when discussing parenting issues. Poor communication is almost always a factor in high conflict family cases. It is not possible for parents to co-parent effectively without first being able to communicate with one another.

Parenting coordinators also teach the parents about particular developmental issues faced by their children as they proceed through the divorce or separation. They will referee the conflicts between the parents in an attempt to help them reach mutual agreement. When necessary, a parenting coordinator can actually make the decisions if no agreement could be reached.

While the mandate of parenting coordinators may vary somewhat from case to case, their focus is on the small daily decisions the parents must make about their children – precisely the same small decisions that provide so much conflict and increasing loads on the court system. Individually, these decisions may each be small, but when combined as a whole, they comprise a huge portion of the problems encountered.

The neutral third-party perspective, high degree of training, and alternative approaches to reducing conflict that a parenting coordinator brings to the process are invaluable to the children, parents, lawyers and judges. Parenting coordinators provide lasting aid by teaching the parents the skills they need so that they, and their children, can have a brighter, more hopeful and harmonious future.

Heidi M. Crimins of Crimins Family Law and Conflict Solutions Firm, PLLC is a qualified parenting coordinator in the Seventh (Volusia, Flagler, Putnam St. John’s County), Ninth (Orange County), Fifth (Lake and Marion County) and Eighteenth (Seminole County) Judicial Circuits of Florida.

For more information please contact us at (386) 873-2756.