A big part of co-parenting often involves making joint decisions concerning your children. It could range from big decisions, like where your kids will go to school, to everyday items, such as whether your kids will buy lunch at school or bring a bagged lunch. When making these kinds of decisions result in conflict, and you can’t even get close to resolving them, a parenting coordinator may be able to help.
The parenting coordination process can work in tandem with alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation. There are some similarities, as both mediators and parenting coordinators are highly trained professionals that act as neutral third-parties. Both have skills to assist parents in working together and reducing conflict.
What Is Parenting Coordination?
In Maryland, Parenting Coordination is a process conducted by a specially trained, impartial professional called a parenting coordinator. The goal of parenting coordination is to minimize the effects of conflict on children involved in custody and visitation cases. Parenting coordinators are trained in conflict reduction and help parents make decisions in the best interests of their children. Parenting coordinators are specially trained professionals whose work focuses on helping co-parents manage their parenting plan, improve communication, and resolve disputes.
Qualifications for Parenting Coordinators
Among other requirements, applicants must hold a post-graduate degree in certain subject areas and have at least three years of related professional experience. They must also complete at least 20 hours of training in an approved family mediation training program and at least 40 hours of training in approved topics relating to parenting coordination, such as problem-solving techniques and dynamics of high-conflict families.
After being approved, parenting coordinators must complete at least four hours of continuing education courses each year in parenting coordination training and recent developments in family law.
When Is a Parenting Coordinator Appointed?
There are two time periods when parenting coordinators can be appointed;
- During the pendency of a custody or visitation case. Prior to judgement, the Court can appoint a parenting coordinator. The parties can file a joint request, or one party can also file a motion, to have a parenting coordinator appointed.
- After entry of judgment regarding custody or visitation. This could be after an initial custody or visitation order, or after the court has modified custody or visitation. Post-litigation appointments must be agreed to by the parties.
Benefits of Parenting Coordination
Parenting coordination can;
- Help parents reach decisions that are in their children’s best interests
- Foster communication between parents and reduce miscommunication in the future
- During a custody case, the parenting coordinator can help the parents develop their parenting plan
- After judgment or an order has been issued, parenting coordinators help parents to implement the court orders and parenting plans
When your parenting coordinator is there to help by offering guidance, or even making decisions when you can’t reach one together, you’ll spend less time arguing with your co-parent to no avail.
A parenting coordinator can help avoid unnecessary arguments by educating you and your co-parent on ways to resolve conflicts promptly. While you will be glad to have stopped butting heads, your kids will also be happy to have more peace across their two homes.