How a Parenting Coordinator Can Help
In states like Florida, unless there are special circumstances, there is no longer a primary custody parent for minor children between ages new-born to 18years but rather a sharing of parental responsibility. This is termed “parental time-sharing.”Basically,this means parents will share equally the care and nurturing of any minor children born or adopted to them as a couple. (The parents do not have to be or have been married.)Additionally, as part of the parenting plan required by the court, all major decision making must be shared in the areas of education, medial, discipline, and religion.
While all the above plans for parental sharing are outstanding in theory, in actuality, there are often some problems in working the “sharing” part out. As would be expected, many couples are no longer together because they can’t get along and thisanimosity spills over into the rearing of their children. Each party thinks they should have the final say regarding their children and make it abundantly apparent by disregardingcourt ordered parenting issues and sometimes even trying to turn a child against the other parent. Harsh words are spoken,and ugly accusationsare aimed at each other. So, when parents cannot get along, they can request,or the court can order a parenting coordinator to try to help resolve thecouple’s inability to put the needs and concerns of their children before their own difficulties.
In Florida, a parenting coordinator is considered a highly professional position and any person who chooses to take on this role must:
- Have a master’s degree in the mental health field or family mediation or a medical degree and be certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
- Complete a family mediation training program
- Have three years experience in the profession of a mental health worker or psychiatrist
- Have 24 hours of classroom instruction in a parenting coordinator training program
- Finish a training program for family mediation
- Understand how the legal system works, especially in the area of Florida Family Law
- Avoid conflicts of interest
- Have no convictions of child abuse or domestic violence
It is the job of the parent coordinator to try to help the couple resolve their parenting issues by learning to put their children first, above their own, often selfish, desires.In a sense, the parents learn to solve their disputes in an acceptable way, one that will ultimately benefit the child.Working as a facilitator between the two parties and sometimes including the children, a parent coordinatorcan help by trying to accomplish:
- Teaching coping skills both emotionally and psychologically resulting from divorce
- Helping children and parents understand the dynamics ofdivorce and what kinds of outcomes have resulted from their particular situation
- Emphasising using the Florida standard “in the best interest of the child” when working on creating or implementing their parenting plan
- Helping children handle the shared parenting arrangements, especially if the child doesn’t want to spend time with a parent
- Teaching parenting skills such as child development, healthy communication, awareness and observation of children’s needs and concerns
- Giving unbiased reports to the court regarding the parenting and child dynamics to help the judge determine what is in the best interest of the child
Minor children in Florida whose parents are separated or divorced now have Family Court guidelines where the best interests of the child are consistently considered. And, when parents seem unable to make things work according to their parenting plan, need help in developing that plan, or have children experiencingsevere pre or post-divorce issues there is now the option of getting help from a Parenting Coordinator. And, if necessary, the court will order a couple to take advantage of the Parenting Coordinator option. All of this will ultimately help the parents and their children become better equipped to move on with their lives while still maintaining a healthy, sustaining relationship for all.