Everything You Need to Know about a Parent Coordinator

In October I completed the certification training to become a Certified Parent Coordinator. Most people have never heard of a parent coordinator. So this blog post answers the most commonly asked questions regarding PCs.

What is a parent coordinator and what do they do?

A parent coordinator is usually either a mental health professional or attorney who has been certified by the Florida Supreme Court. There are requisite hours of training to become certified. A parent coordinator assists high-conflict parents in family law to resolve parenting issues.⁠ ⁠ Parent Coordination is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution like mediation or arbitration – that helps keeps families out of litigation in court. You can learn more from the Florida Bar Journal.

A Parent 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 parent coordinator is to help parents focus on what is best for the child and to encourage finding solutions to disagreements. Unlike a mediator, which is generally a one or two time event, parent coordination is an on going process. You repeatedly return to sessions with your PC when problems arise.⁠

When should you use a parent coordinator in your case?

A parent coordinator can be appointed by the Judge 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 PC?

The greatest benefit to using a PC is that it keeps you out of litigation which can be incredibly expensive, and has proven to be harmful to children caught in the cross fire.⁠ ⁠ Research shows 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. Additionally, the fee is usually split by the parents according to their pro rata shares or in half.⁠ ⁠ Lastly, you will have the final say in resolving the disputes instead of the judge.⁠

Why did I decide to become a certified parent coordinator?

When I went through my own high conflict divorce, a parent 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. We spent time in litigation for 5 years before finally deciding to work together as co parents. Over the years of disagreement we lost time, money, and worst of all – our personal peace.

As a divorce attorney I see 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.