Parenting Coordinators are professionals appointed by the court to assist parents who are no longer living together, or who are going through a divorce, to resolve disputes regarding their children. The institution of parenting coordinators is relatively new, and Florida is one of the states pioneering the idea that an impartial third party can be beneficial to helping warring parents productively resolve their disputes.
Who can be a parenting coordinator?
Florida statutes state that the parenting coordinator must be one of the following:
- A mental health professional
- A physician certified in psychiatry or neurology
- A family law mediator with mental health qualifications
- A member of the Florida Bar with good standing
Parenting Coordinators must have practiced in their relevant field for at least three years, complete a training program certified by the Florida Supreme Court and have no less than 24 hours training in family dynamics, Florida family law and the ethics relating to parenting coordination.
Why are they appointed?
The primary objective of Florida’s family court system is to maximize the welfare of children of divorcing parents. When parents are able to agree a parenting plan acceptable to all parties, the court will usually not interfere, unless the judge considers that the plan does not provide for a child’s best interests. When the parent’s cannot agree on a plan, the court is entitled to appoint a parenting coordinator to help the parties work through difficult issues. Further, if the parties have a parenting plan but need guidance implementing same or assistance in communicating with their former spouse on future issues a parenting coordinator can be of great assistance. The appointment is seen as an alternative to court dominated litigation and is designed to be less confrontational. This helps to reduce stress on the parties involved and promotes a more collaborative way of finding a solution.
Who pays the parenting coordinator's fee?
Parenting coordinators are entitled to be paid according to their usual rates of pay as medical or legal professionals. Where possible, the court aims to split the cost fairly between the parties to be sure that both parties have a vested interest in the process. Parenting coordination is meant to provide an alternative to full blown litigation. The cost of having a coordinator is usually lower than the cost of resolving disputes through litigation or even mediation.
Whether you need a parenting coordinator depends on many factors, particularly your ability to resolve disputes with your former partner without intervention. Where this is not possible the involvement of a parenting coordinator can prove invaluable to preserving your child's welfare. Arrange an appointment to discuss your case and your concerns with experienced family attorney Heather Byrd. The Byrd Law Firm has provided advice on all aspects of family law in Florida for more than 16 years.