Getting a divorce is never easy, but when children are involved, the complexities increase exponentially.

When spouses divorce and there are children of the marriage, child custody arrangements need to be determined. When parents cannot agree on the terms of child custody or how decisions will be made regarding the parties’ children, hiring a parenting coordinator may be a good idea. While courts have the power to decide child custody arrangements, the courts will often direct parents to seek the help of a parenting coordinator. The parents may also choose to do so themselves, so the spouses can receive help in reaching decisions about their family life after separation. Parenting coordinators can offer much needed guidance and can help parents resolve conflicts between them by offering neutral advice. They are better able to focus on the best interest of the children in a level-headed manner during a process that is often heavily charged with emotion. Parenting coordinators are specially trained professionals who not only take the applicable law into account, but also the impact that decisions concerning the children may have on the family in the long run.

Many people who have hired parenting coordinators have expressed the benefits and drawbacks of having done so. So, what are some of the pros and cons of seeking the help of a parenting coordinator during child custody proceedings?

Pros of Using a Parenting Coordinator

They Are Professionals

Parenting coordinators are qualified professionals who are specially trained in matters concerning mental health and family issues. They have a thorough understanding of the complexities of divorce and its impact on the family, as well as experience dealing with various family matters and co-parenting issues. The role of the parenting coordinator is to facilitate co-parenting decisions and resolve any conflicts in a fair and impartial way, in consultation with both parents and with the best interest of the children as the primary concern.

They Are Good At Keeping Parents Focused On The Proper Priorities

Even when there is significant conflict or disagreement between parents regarding what the proper custody arrangement for their children should be, parenting coordinators often have a knack for helping parents realize that their disputes may negatively impact their children’s behavior and life, and that the decisions they make should be based on what they believe to be in the best interest of their children, and not on their own wishes. Divorce and separation can be extremely stressful for children, and parenting coordinators help minimize that stress by mediating between parents to solve disputes, while also guiding parents to keep their focus on what is best for their children.

They Are Strong Mediators

Parenting coordinators act as a mediator between parents and help facilitate healthy
communication between them by focusing on the major issues in dispute and offering possible solutions.

They Can Keep You Out Of Court

Parenting coordinators devote their time and attention to helping parents resolve conflicts on their own and without the need to seek court intervention, thus removing the stress and uncertainty that comes from having a judge, who is not intimately familiar with the circumstances of the parties’ lives and family dynamics, make decisions that directly impact both parents and their children, without parental input and agreement.

Cons Of Using A Parenting Coordinator

They Can Get Expensive

Parents can become overly reliant on parenting coordinators during the divorce process and end up contacting them often and requesting frequent meetings. Thus, the cost of using a parenting coordinator can really add up. Furthermore, if there is no termination date determined by the court on the use of a parenting coordinator, parents may be obligated to consult with them, and therefore pay them, every time they have a dispute to resolve until their child reaches the age of 18.

Parenting Coordinators Can Become A Crutch

Oftentimes, parents will rely on parenting coordinators as a permanent decision-making mechanism, which in turn prevents parents from figuring out ways to work together to solve disputes and make child-related decisions together, thus resulting in a persistent dysfunctional relationship between the parents.

Decisions Made By A Parenting Coordinator Are Not Always Satisfactory

Oftentimes, parents will rely on parenting coordinators as a permanent decision-making mechanism, which in turn prevents parents from figuring out ways to work together to solve disputes and make child-related decisions together, thus resulting in a persistent dysfunctional relationship between the parents.

They Are Human

Parenting coordinators are not infallible and are subject to human emotion, so an initial negative first impression of a parent, or a personal bias or partiality, can affect the decision-making process, which includes decisions on which parent a child resides with or how much time he or she spends with each parent.

If you are getting a divorce and/or are faced with child custody issues, hiring a parenting coordinator to help you facilitate the resolution of disputes in a timely manner may be advisable. Interview several parenting coordinators and make sure the person you choose will focus on your child’s well-being, has extensive mediation training and experience, and is someone you will feel comfortable with.

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