High-conflict custody cases clog the courts. This is something most judges will agree upon. These cases come back to court with countless requests for modifications of custody or visitation, as well as petitions for contempt, and so many more motions, it can make your head swim.
Often, many mental health professionals are involved; therapists for parents and children, child custody evaluators, home study experts, and more.
It feels like a quagmire that will never end.
In these cases, a new professional – the parenting coordinator – may provide assistance.
Keep in mind, however, there are always going to be a percentage of cases for which nothing is likely to work. There are also cases involving safety and domestic violence issues, and more. These tend to exceed the scope of this conversation.
But apart from those hopeless and helpless cases, the entry of a parenting coordinator can bring calm to chaos.
Parenting coordinators can be appointed by the courts, but they can also be contractually agreed upon by parents. They play three distinct roles:
- They educate parents on day-to-day parenting issues that arise over time.
- They mediate with parents on those issues if an education does not provide resolution.
- They arbitrate and/or make decisions for parents, if they cannot make them on their own.
For example: let’s say you have a visitation schedule, but it does not specify the transfer time or who picks up and drops off the children. A parenting coordinator could help with this issue.
On the other hand, a parenting coordinator cannot change custody, change a visitation schedule, or change the schools where children attend.
If you believe you might be in one of these moderate to high-conflict cases, have a conversation with your divorce attorney about hiring a parenting coordinator. If you are not presently represented, consider sitting down with an attorney to think things through.
Children are not children for long. And they watch their parents closely. Parents who act poorly in front of their children may discover their children decide not to remain close when they become adults.
Don’t force your children to become decision-makers. Work harder and let them be children now.
SIEGELLAW can help you find solutions. Give us a call at (410) 792-2300 or fill out the form on this page to request additional information.