The Value of Parenting Coordinators in Divorce Proceedings
Brandi Thomas, Family Law Practice Group Leader
7 May 2018
Divorce is a process riddled with emotional landmines. Deciphering visitation schedules, answering difficult questions of custody and financial support can be traumatic for all involved. Recognizing the detrimental impact of stress, particularly on children in these cases, the State of Florida codified Parenting Coordinators. The core of a Parenting Coordinator’s duty is to minimize the negative impact divorce can have on the relationship between parent and child.
Florida law requires a Parenting Coordinator be at least one of the following:
- Licensed mental health professional;
- Licensed physician certified in neurology or psychiatry;
- Certified family law mediator by The Florida Bar or
- Member in good standing with The Florida Bar.
Additionally, Parenting Coordinators must have at least three years of experience and must complete a Florida Bar family mediation training program. Finally, they must also complete 24 hours of training on common issues that arise between parents during this tumultuous process.
Parenting Coordinators usually enter the divorce process after questions related to custody have been resolved. They work to foster communication and problem solving skills between parents minimizing potential exposure to psychological harm for the minors involved. They create comprehensive parenting plans based on evaluations and interviews with parents and relevant family members. These plans aim to create balance between the child’s needs and the course for parental time-sharing.
Having clients that have used parenting coordinators throughout my career, I cannot overstate their value. These individuals serve as an unbiased party concerned solely with the mental health of both parent and child. Neutral in their interactions, their primary objective is to minimize conflict. Judges have come to rely heavily on their findings and appreciate the objective expertise brought to an emotionally subjective situation.
In the end, the Parenting Coordinators have a high rate of success, achieving the one thing most divorcing parents desire most: children that thrive beyond divorce.
How do I get a Parenting Coordinator?
Either parent can request a Parenting Coordinator by filing a motion in Court. A judge may also appoint a Parenting Coordinator without official request by the Parties.
Do I have to pay for a Parenting Coordinator?
Yes, the Court determines the fees.
Does my divorce qualify for a Parenting Coordinator?
Every case is different. For a discussion regarding your specific case please call our office for a consultation at 850-838-0000.