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posted in Child Custody

on Wednesday, July 18, 2012.

A new type of mediator is apparent in the legal realm of divorce in Connecticut and elsewhere: the parenting coordinator. The parenting coordinator is an individual who acts as a disinterested arbiter so that argumentative parents can come to an agreement on child care. Such things as visitation, pickup times, the role of grandparents and summer camp payments can all be determined with the help of a parenting coordinator.

In some situations, a parenting coordinator can be sought out. But most mediation sessions are court-ordered, and that means that the parents involved are likely to be extremely bitter toward one another. Some coordinators have pointed to the high level of stress that comes with acting as the mediator for such couples. According to them, most trained coordinators stop practicing at some point.

One of these coordinators said that she has seen parents interrogate their children after a visit with a former spouse. Other parents have gotten into physical altercations with their former in-laws.

In addition to the already named items that can be worked out in a parenting plan, there is also the matter of whether a child may call a step-parent “mom” or “dad.” Some couples have used these plans to ink out every last detail so that few surprises or upsetting situations can occur.

Many social service agencies and family law judges, including some in Connecticut, believe that parenting coordinators are a great addition to families that need them. Once the parenting plan is hashed out, the coordinator makes sure that both parents are sticking to the plan. Acting as mediators, these individuals help the family transition after the separation has occurred, always being sure to keep the best interests of any involved children apparent to the parents.

Source: Sun Sentinel, “After divorce, parent coordinators mediate for children,” Lois K. Solomon, July 6, 2012

Tags: child custody, divorce, parental coordinator

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