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Parenting CoordinatorParenting coordinators, or PCs, are an increasingly popular form of mediation for parents locked in high-conflict battles over custody rights (i.e. parents least likely to be going the online divorce route).

While the function, in theory, is commendable, many people feel outraged by the idea that a court-appointed mental health professional or lawyer, should be given the power to interpret court orders and essentially decide what is in the best interests of the child. To fully understand the debate over whether PCs are necessary, let’s look at the pros and cons.






First, The Pro Side. 

Parenting coordinators are:

  • Appointed by a judge.
  • Given the power to resolve conflicts between parents who either are filing for divorce or have filed and just can’t seem to agree on anything.
  • Qualified mental health professionals, usually with extensive training in areas of family relations; or,
  • Attorneys in good standing with their state’s Bar Association; thus, they are well-versed in family law and have some “skin in the game” with regard to dealing fairly between both parties.
  • An alert to quarrelsome parents, reminding them that their child’s well-being is at stake, and as such, their interactions with one another must be more child-focused and less self-focused.
  • An extra layer of protection for a spouse, who was the victim of domestic violence at the hands of the other.
  • Capable of decongesting the courts by devoting time and attention that a judge doesn’t have.

Next, The Con Side. 

Parenting coordinators are not:

  • The people, who know and love the child best, yet they’re placed in a role where they have to make decisions for the welfare of the child.
  • Infallible, meaning that the possibility for abuse of power by the PC is not farfetched; furthermore, their schedules are pretty full, so room for human error is present.
  • An outright prevention of domestic violence; the most they can do is testify to a parent’s non-compliance.
  • The people, who, in a perfect world, should be making the decisions of what doctor a child sees, nor should they be the people, who determine family routines and schedules.

So How Do You Avoid Them? 

Currently, only 10 states have passed laws on parenting coordination, so it’s not all that hard. But with 20 percent of the US already under its belt, the concept is becoming more popular. If you want to avoid the PC, then the best thing you can do is have a civil relationship with your child’s other parent. Work through your differences with regard to parenting decisions, family routines, and scheduling. Don’t let things escalate, and it will never get to the point you will need a PC.

But it’s worth noting that you can’t always control the behavior of the other parent, and should the situation call for it, a PC may not be such a bad idea. After all, one thing you wanted, even before learning how to file for divorce, was what was best for your child.

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