When entering into a situation involving your children and ex-partner, emotions are high and each parent finds this to be an extremely sensitive matter. Florida places a great deal of weight on facilitating a continued relationship between both parents and a child. It is highly encouraged to determine a parenting plan prior to placing such a dispute before a judge. Therefore, it can be helpful to employ a neutral third party to help facilitate a dialogue between the parties and ultimately establish a beneficial plan for the future of their parenting relationship. One individual that can aid your family is known as a Parenting Coordinator.
Parenting coordinators are used in order to avoid a court ordered parenting plan, and allow the parents to establish the necessary schedule for their children. Sections 61.125(1) provides “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.” Therefore, a parenting coordinator can be used during the divorce process and after to facilitate an open dialogue and resolve disputes that may arise in a coparenting relationship.
Parenting Coordinators are not lawyers or judges but are rather medical and academic professionals. Florida law, Section 6.125(4) requires parenting coordinators to hold either a medical degree and certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology or have a masters degree in family mediation or mental health. Along with the academic requirements, Florida requires these individuals to have a great deal of professional experience as well. Parenting coordinators must have worked as a psychiatrist or mental health professional for at least 3 years and continue education in the field through training programs. Because of their vast education and experience, these individuals have a myriad of resources at their disposal to help your family through the conflicts that may arise.
Parenting coordinators meet with each family member individually and in group settings; mediate conflicts between parents; provide counseling services; create plans and recommendations; and formulate comprehensive reports to provide to the court. The ultimate goal of the coordinator is to understand the family unit and assist the parents in coming to a resolution best fit for their unique situation. This is a case by case basis and the parties alone will decide if their parenting coordinator’s recommendations are best for them. Therefore, you are still in ultimate control of your family in this situation.
If unable to determine a common agreement between you and your ex-partner, discuss with your Orlando Divorce Attorney the option of employing a parenting coordinator. Your attorney will be able to provide you with options and aid the dialogue between you and the coordinator and spouse.
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