I am writing to you upon your request for my input with respect to Parenting Coordination and its usefulness in the context of custody and parenting access litigation in my role as an attorney specializing in the areas of matrimonial and family law. Frankly, there are no words to precisely express how useful and helpful it is to have a trained and experienced social worker or psychologist work with couples, going through a divorce or separation – with all the emotional baggage attached – to assist these individuals by teaching them to separate their feelings of hurt and anger from their roles as parents of common children with the goal of co-parenting in a healthy manner.
It is very essential that the Courts incorporate the role of Parenting Coordinator, in the context of custody and parenting access litigation, as having a battle royale over children, rather than bringing warring families to the peace table, only serves to exacerbate the problems of families leading to more dysfunction than already inevitably exists.
Should you require any other feedback from me regarding the above, please feel free to contact me.
Deborah G. Fiss, Esq.
As a judge who has presided over hundreds of matrimonial cases involving custody, I cannot imagine a wiser, more efficacious first step for divorcing, but caring parents, than to utilize the services of a Parenting Coordinator (PC). The use of PC’s is a meaningful, effective tool to address and resolve custody and visitation disputes. I wholeheartedly endorse their involvement in custody cases.
Anger and conflict in divorces runs high. All agree that is not the fault of the children of the divorcing parties. Yet, somehow, they bear the brunt of their parents’ dispute. In many ways, children are the greatest casualty of divorce. But, it does not have to be that way. With the professional expertise and guidance of a PC, families in conflict have a place to turn to address disagreements before they mushroom out of control, diffuse conflict, improve communication and, most importantly, take the children out of the “middle” of their parents’ dissolving relationship; even after a divorce is granted.
PC’s are licensed mental health professionals who engage the parties in a child-focused alternative dispute resolution process which avoids the cost of court appearances and the resulting bitterness and hardening of positions. In addition, courts rely upon the efforts of the PC in determining appropriate resolutions of custody issues.
Court is always an alternative, but I cannot imagine it being the first choice for resolving a custody or visitation dispute. By addressing the entire family dynamic, issues can be promptly, confidentially and, in most cases, effectively addressed and resolved.
Hon. Leonard B. Austin
I am taking this opportunity to describe my experience working with a parent coordinator (PC). My main regret is that my husband and I didn’t work with one sooner. We would not have gone through as much emotional pain, anger, time and our limited assets. The damage we inevitably are causing our child could also have been minimized. The greatest advantage of working with a PC is that their main goal is to look out for the benefit of the innocent victims of divorce, the children.
Our PC was able to cut through the raw emotions that were blocking us from reaching any agreement. She was able to stop me when I would begin to ramble on as a victim of my circumstances. She was able to keep us focused on finding solutions to issues that would be acceptable to both parties. At times when our respective lawyers would go back and forth (which would fuel issues instead of reaching a compromise on either side,
while both of our legal fees sky-rocketed), our PC was able to calm us down and get us to examine the issues at hand and reach a consensus on the various aspects of our separation agreement. The PC was able to get us to understand that we were close to agreeing at a cost that was far less than each of us would have had to pay our respective lawyers.
Even when I might have doubted the PC’s suggestions, when I followed through eventually she proved to be on target. I happen to be dealing with a spouse that is very angry ,uncompromising, distrustful and completely closed to the idea of therapy. He was not open to therapy for us as a couple that needs to communicate effectively so as to be consistent with our child as we co-parent in this new phase of our lives. He was also not open to our child receiving therapy during this tremendous change as a family. Very gingerly, and very cleverly, our PC is slowly guiding my soon to be former spouse, to cooperate in these very uncomfortable areas.
We are still in the process of our changing “family” structure and redefining how to move on from here, but I feel we are in good hands. I dare to say, if we had first come to a parent coordinator, we might have even saved our marriage. Either way at this point, we will hopefully be the best parents we can be for our child and maintain our sanity and dignity in the process.
Good luck in your journey!
I was fortunate to have a parent coordinator assigned to my recently completed divorce. Although I am a practicing attorney the entire process was new to me and the intricacies were at times overwhelming. As must be fairly common in a situation where custody is an issue, there existed fairly raw feelings and tension between myself and my then soon to be ex-wife. During the process though, the parent coordinator was there to guide us smoothly through the rough times while at all times keeping her eye on the only thing that really mattered, the children. I cannot emphasize how valuable the parent coordinator was in keeping the parents personal hostilities from the children. Divorce may often not be amicable and in at least in my situation we could not have completed our divorce with as little hard to our children without the guidance of our coordinator. I strongly recommend mandatory parent coordinators for every divorce involving children. In my situation, I could not have done it without a coordinator.
Loving Father and ex- husband.