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.
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.
Qualifications for Parenting Coordinators
There are several prerequisites for becoming a parenting coordinator, as set out in Maryland Rule § 9-205.2. 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.
Benefits of Parenting Coordination
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.
Specifically, 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
An Experienced Lawyer and Parent Coordinator
Christy A. Zlatkus, Esquire is a trained parenting coordinator. She understands how important it is to maintain and protect the bonds between parents and children. If you, or a client, are considering a parenting coordinator in Montgomery County or Frederick County, Maryland, contact Z Family Law today.