During the pendency of a divorce or parenting petition, when communication between parents breaks down, parents often go to their attorneys or the guardian ad litem to resolve conflicts regarding parenting issues. However, when the dust settles, the case is over and the attorneys and GAL are no longer involved, parents are left to resolve conflicts on their own. Often high-conflict parents will end up back in court over issues that they cannot agree upon.
As an alternative to heading back to court, parents should consider hiring a parenting coordinator who can assist them in resolving disputes and implementing their parenting plan. The parenting coordinator can also work with the parents on developing more effective communication skills, collaborative parenting methods and problem solving techniques. The parenting coordinator is not counseling, a guardian ad litem investigation, or a parenting education course.
The Parenting Coordinators Association of New Hampshire lists a few dozen professionals, including attorneys and mental health professionals, who serve as parenting coordinators. PCANH website provides the following information about the parenting coordinator process:
The Parenting Coordinator will typically meet with the parents, individually and/or jointly. The parents’ concerns will be identified, the family situation will be assessed with the aid of court orders and documents, and a course of action will be identified, including the setting of specific goals for resolution of conflicting issues. Emails and phone calls are used to assist the parents’ work toward the goals. Additional individual or joint meetings may be scheduled and other people with information may be contacted.
For more information about parenting coordinators, the process and the price, check out the PCANH’s list of FAQs.