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Parenting coordination (PC) is a child-focused alternative dispute resolution process developed to assist divorced or divorcing parents in developing and/or implementing a Parenting Plan and reduce child custody litigation. A PC can also be used to re-evaluate and/or change an existing Parenting Plan. This may occur as children reach different developmental stages and require different co-parenting strategies, when one of the parties relocates or marries, or when any significant change occurs to the existing Parenting Plan. Parenting Coordination is typically court-ordered after months, and sometimes years, of conflict between parents regarding the care and time sharing of their children.
Because this can be one of the most painful and most stressful periods of your lives, even parents with strong parenting skills and the best intentions often struggle with cooperative parenting without outside intervention. Parental conflict and contempt can sometimes result in parental alienation, which can have long term and devastating consequences for the relationship between children and parent. Ongoing parental conflict can also destroy the overall well-being of the children and carry on through adulthood.
Research shows that the level and intensity of parental conflict is the most potent factor in children’s post-divorce adjustment. Working with a Parenting Coordinator encourages communication, problem solving skills and conflict resolution skills between the parents. With the help of a Parenting Coordinator the parents tend to work out their differences that previously seemed impossible to work through.
A PC does not replace or complete with the attorney’s role and the PC does not provide legal, financial, or accounting advice. A PC is never a substitute and cannot provide mental health counseling or therapy, but may refer you or your children to these services.
Working with a Qualified Parenting Coordinator
A parenting plan is a document developed and agreed to by the parents of a minor child and approved by the court, or if the parents cannot agree, a parenting plan is established by the court. Parenting plans are an invaluable tool, crucial in helping parents make important decisions such as:
Section 61.125(1), Florida Statutes, states “The purpose of parenting coordination is to provide a child-focused alternative dispute resolution process whereby a parenting coordinator assists the parents in creating or implementing a parenting plan by facilitating the resolution of disputes between the parents by providing education, making recommendations, and, with the prior approval of the parents and the court, making limited decisions within the scope of the court’s order of referral.”
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Shared parenting or shared parental responsibility is a relationship in which both parents retain full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to their children and in which both parents confer with each other so that major decisions affecting the welfare of their children will be determined jointly. (It is common to have shared parental responsibility even if the child lives primarily with one parent.)