Florida Statute 61.125:
(1) PURPOSE- 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.
WHAT IS PARENTING COORDINATION?
Parenting Coordination is a process where parents sit down with a "Parenting Coordinator", either together or in separate sessions to try to resolve conflicts or disagreements regarding the children. To be a "Florida Qualified Parenting Coordinator" a person must be a licensed mental health professional, physician, attorney or Florid Supreme Court Certified Mediator, and meet experience and training requirements.
Parenting Coordination is often reserved for high conflict situations where there is great animosity and disagreement between the parents, but it can also be used in other situations where parents want help working out agreements or developing a Parenting Plan. It's something that can work. It's not therapy focused on psychological issues, but more a process that attends to what each parent is going through, but focuses on concrete solutions and agreements regarding parenting issues.
It can be a very positive process that parents choose or something recommended to them by their attorneys or other people they're working with, but often it starts out as a Order to Parenting Coordination by the Judge. These can be situations where the parents both agree to commit and require themselves to participate in a process to resolve children's issues; where one parent believes it is needed to address problems with the other parent; where the conflict between the parents is so great that the Court believes one or both parents have crossed over into having a damaging effect on the children; or situations where the parents are constantly in court with conflicts and all else has failed. When Parenting Coordination is ordered by the Judge, parents must go and participate, and failure to do so can be treated as "non-compliance" and result in the Judge imposing sanctions or penalties on the parent. When Parenting Coordination is ordered by the Judge, it's sometimes or often a sign that the powers that be view one or both parent's behavior and the conflict between them as outside the range of what is acceptable, and potentially harmful to the children, such that the power of the court is brought to bear to require the parents to attend a process to address what is going on. In these types of situations, part of the thought behind a referral to parenting coordination is that one or both parents are putting their needs and their desire to fight above the needs of the children. That's obviously a judgment, something judgmental, but that is part of what you get in a court process.
The other side of it is understanding that part of what is going on is one or both parents having been hurt, feeling diminished or under attack, or simply needing more information to come to different decisions - so parenting coordination looks to understand where each parent is coming from, and build on what's positive that is already there. It may be difficult to imagine voluntarily seeking out Parenting Coordination after the description above, but Parenting Coordination can be a positive thing parents choose to try to get help, or sometimes something that is initially court ordered but comes to be a positive experience for the parents and good for the children.
Pamela J. Pedlow is Qualified as a Parenting Coordinator in Florida.
Call us at (321) 258-0150, and we can discuss Parenting Coordination for your case.