Using a Parenting Coordinator in Family Law: Everything You Need to Know

In October I completed the certification training to become a Certified Parenting Coordinator, since then I have been asked by many people have asked me questions about parenting coordinating. So this blog post answers the questions I have been asked most frequently- what is a parenting coordinator, what does a parenting coordinator do, when should a parenting coordinator be used, what are the benefits of using a parenting coordinator, and why did I become a parenting coordinator.

What is a parenting coordinator and what do they do?

A parenting coordinator is usually either a mental health professional or attorney who has been certified by the Florida Supreme Court after taking the requisite hours of training to assist high-conflict parents in family law resolve parenting issues.⁠ ⁠ Parenting Coordination is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution like mediation or arbitration – that helps keeps families out of litigation in court.

A Parenting coordinator is NOT a referee or a judge- they do not make decisions for you or decide which one of you is right or wrong, they instead facilitate compromise. They also cannot make substantive changes to your parenting plan – only the Judge can do that.⁠ ⁠ The goal of a parenting coordinator is to keep the parents focused on what is best for the child and to encourage finding solutions to disagreements. Rather than using a mediator – which is generally a one or two time event, parenting coordination is an on going process. You repeatedly return to sessions with your PC when problems arise.⁠

When should you use a parenting coordinator in your case?

A parenting coordinator can be appointed by the Judge either during or after the litigation of a family law matter when there are ongoing disputes OR a parenting coordinator may be privately retained by two parents on their own. The use of a PC will be beneficial to you if any of the following describe your case:

  • You and your co-parent tend to have difficulty communicating effectively about the children
  • You have a high level of conflict in your marriage, divorce, and beyond
  • You are tired of always being dragged into court by your co-parent every time there is a disagreement
  • Your co-parent never follows the parenting plan, is always trying to change the terms

Why is it beneficial to use a parenting coordinator?

The greatest benefit to using a PC is that it keeps you out of litigation which can not only be incredibly expensive, it is also proven to be harmful to children caught in the cross fire.⁠ ⁠ In fact, research has shown that high conflict litigation in family law can lead to PTSD for parents and their children. A PC will keep your costs down dramatically. Their hourly rate is usually much lower than that of an attorney and the fee is usually split by the parents according to their pro rata shares or in half.⁠ ⁠ Also – you will have the final say in resolving the disputes instead of the judge.⁠

Why did I decide to become a certified parenting coordinator?

When I went through my own high conflict divorce, a parenting coordinator would
have been incredibly beneficial for my ex husband and me. We were stuck in the cycle of always disagreeing over what the terms of our parenting plan really meant and spent time in litigation for 5 years before finally deciding to work together as co parents. We lost time, money, and worst of all – our personal peace.

As a divorce attorney I have seen the absolute devastating effects of high conflict litigation on my clients and their families. I desire to be a part of the solution, not the problem. A PC is there to help you see past your pain and come up with solutions that work. They will keep your eyes on the only thing that matters- the well being of your children. I believe wholeheartedly that good co-parenting can be just as beneficial to children as living in an intact family unit. Anything I can do to facilitate that for families is my life’s work.