A parenting coordinator is a third party hired by divorced or divorcing parents to help resolve parenting disputes – such as holiday and vacation plans, the selection of activities for the children, or school choice. Under Massachusetts Probate and Family Court Standing Order 1-17, a parenting coordinator can be appointed in any case relating to the care and custody of minor children. Under the Standing Order, parents may, by agreement, engage a parenting coordinator to assist them in dealing with existing or future conflicts regarding their access to and responsibilities for their children. A parenting coordinator can be given authority to make binding decisions or be limited to simply trying to help the parties come to mutual agreement.
Here are a few of the benefits to hiring a parenting coordinator:
- Less time in court. A parenting coordinator can help parents avoid repeated trips to the courthouse to deal with minor disputes.
- Less cost. Sharing the cost of a parenting coordinator will be less expensive than continuing to use attorneys to work out parenting disputes.
- Quicker decisions. It can take months to get a hearing date in the Probate and Family Court. Parenting decisions often must be made quickly and not months after an issue arises. A parenting coordinator will always be faster than waiting for a court date.
- Improved communication. By definition, parenting coordination is a child-centered process designed to reduce the effect of conflict on children. By working together with a parenting coordinator to try to reach mutual agreement, parents will likely find that they are more able to effectively communicate about the needs of the children and even work more cooperatively together.
If you are considering working with a parenting coordinator, be sure to speak with an experienced attorney about important details to include in your Parenting Coordination Agreement.
Until next time,