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The Role Of A “Parent Coordinator”

The Role of a “Parent Coordinator”

DLDBy David L. Duff of Duff & Kronfeld, P.C. posted in Family Law on Monday, March 26, 2018.

When divorce breaks up a family and minor children are involved, resolving issues of custody and visitation tend to be at the forefront of everyone’s minds, and the focus of everyone’s efforts. Once those issues are decided, whether by agreement between the parents, or determined by a judge, divorcing parents tend to exhale, and direct their concerns to issues of support and asset division. In reality, however, they have only scratched the surface when it comes to addressing disputes involving their children.

A myriad of questions inevitably arises, seemingly on a daily basis. What sports can the children participate in? Who is going to pay for the registration fees, uniforms, equipment, travel and other expenses related to that sporting activity? What happens when practice, or a game, encroaches on visitation time with the non-custodial parent?

Virtually every Summer, disputes arise over what camp(s) will the children attend, and when? Who gets to select the camp(s)? Who gets to pay for the camp(s)? How do you handle the situation when attending summer camp disrupts other vacation plans made by the non-custodial parent?

How should parents handle the frequent reality that, when the children are at dad’s house, there is one set of rules and boundaries; and, when they are at mom’s house, they must adhere to a different set? This situation often leads to confusion in the children’s minds, and frustration and, eventually, hostility between the parents.

Enter the “Parental Coordinator,” who is a clinical psychologist, well-experienced in dealing with these types of issues that regularly arise with divorced families. Initially, both parents must agree on the psychologist to be used, although a judge always has the authority to simply designate an individual of his/her choosing. Then, when issues involving the children arise, and the parents cannot reach an agreement between themselves, they schedule a joint appointment with the “Parent Coordinator.” At this appointment, each parent will have a full opportunity to present his or her position on the issue under discussion; and, the professional will attempt to demonstrate the fallacy or unreasonableness of one parent’s position, so as to facilitate a compromise resolution.

In some cases, the parents agree to simply allow the “Parent Coordinator” to make a binding decision on the particular issue. Other times, the professional’s recommendations are merely advisory in nature. Regardless, use of a “Parent Coordinator” gets issues resolved far quicker than proceeding through the court system – and far less expensive, since there are no attorneys fees to pay.

If you are having issues surrounding custody or visitation with your children, call Duff & Kronfeld, P.C. for a complimentary, 30-minute telephone consultation at (703) 591-7475.

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