The Best Way to Implement Parallel Parenting
Parenting Coordination is a child-focused dispute resolution process conducted by a licensed mental health professional or certified Mediator with professional experience with high-conflict families. It is viewed as an adjunct to the courts’ efforts to:
- Enforce decrees
- Limit judicial resources consumed by an individual family
- When necessary, obtain efficient access to information bearing on children’s best interests
A Parenting Coordinator seeks to protect and sustain safe, healthy and meaningful parent-child relationships and assist Co-Parents engaged in high conflict Co-Parenting to implement their parenting plan by:
- Facilitating the resolution of disputes in a timely manner
- Educating Co-Parents about children’s needs
- With prior approval of the Co-Parents or the court, making decisions within the scope of the Court Order or appointment contract.
Jordana Wolfson is a Parenting Coordinator. This designation is created through the parties signing a Consent Order through their attorneys and the court. A lengthy document outlines the role of this person and gives her judicial immune power, which means she can make recommendations that the family must follow.
Parenting Coordinators (PC) are called in to figure out parenting time gray areas. Some examples include determining if a child needs a therapist and who that therapist will be, choosing extracurricular activities, how to decide where to send a child to high school when parents cannot agree, summer camps or family milestone celebrations, to name a few. The PC also works with the parties on ways they can treat one another more respectfully and avoid creating additional issues with one another that will impact the children.
“My approach is to try to get the parents to work together,” Jordana says. “If I can’t get them to agree upon something, I make the decision, and it is binding.”
This is a formal position that carries a lot of weight with the courts. When a Parenting Coordinator issues a recommendation for a family, it becomes legally binding. The family has 14 days to contest it if they choose, and if they do not, or if the court denies the objection, the family must follow the recommendations.
Most people don’t realize they have options and choices when it comes to Parenting Time! We get as specific as possible so there is no confusion once the divorce is final and the family starts living according to the Parenting Time Agreement.
“This is not an ideal path to follow, but for some families, it is necessary,” Jordana says. “My goal is always to empower parents to work together for their children’s peace and success. When they can’t, we have options like this to help the family. But our first step will always be to seek a resolution-focused approach that will help parents work together in ways that benefit their children.