Whether you are going through a divorce or child custody case, communicating with your coparent can be difficult and stressful. Communication that is not productive can ultimately become destructive. However, there are two types of professionals who can assist in with these issues: Parenting Coordinators and Parenting Facilitators.
A Parenting Coordinator is an impartial third party who assists parties in resolving parenting issues through confidential procedures. The duties of Parenting Coordinators are limited to matters that aid the parties in:
- identifying disputed issues;
- reducing misunderstandings;
- clarifying priorities of the parties;
- exploring possibilities for problem solving;
- developing methods of coparenting and obtaining coparenting skills;
- understanding and implementing parenting plans;
- complying with court orders; and
- settling disputes regarding parenting issues.
Sessions with a Parenting Coordinator are flexible with each set of coparents. A Parenting Coordinator is trained to work with each unique family dynamic. Sessions may be as informal or formal as necessary for a case, and there are no specific procedures Parenting Coordinators must follow. It is important to note that a Parenting Coordinator cannot be used as a witness in your case.
A Parenting Coordinator does not take the place of a judge, jury, mediator, arbitrator or attorney. The court still controls the suit, and a Parenting Coordinator cannot modify any court orders, as that is something only a judge can do.
A Parenting Facilitator is an impartial third party who assists parties in resolving parenting issues through non-confidential procedures. Parenting Facilitators aid the parties in the same ways as Parenting Coordinators, but Parenting Facilitators can also monitor compliance with court orders.
Similar to a Parenting Coordinator, sessions with a Parenting Facilitator are tailored to each set of coparents and may be as informal or formal as necessary. However, the key difference with Parenting Facilitators is that a Parenting Facilitator can be called to testify in your case, and if there is a Parenting Facilitator involved, it is highly likely he or she will testify if issues between the parents are not resolved in facilitation.
A Parenting Facilitator also does not take the place of a judge, jury, mediator, arbitrator or attorney, nor can it modify any orders.
Is a Parenting Coordinator or Facilitator Right for Me?
Parenting Coordinators and Facilitators can be appointed by a court on its own, by request of a party, or by agreement of the parties. If you find that you struggle to communicate in a productive manner with your coparent, a Parenting Coordinator or Facilitator may be right for your case. However, you should consult an attorney prior to making the decision on your own. Keep in mind that there will be a cost associated with the Parenting Coordinator or Facilitator that will need to be paid by the parties, usually equally for all joint sessions with both parents.
Consult with a Dallas Family Law Attorney
If you have questions about this article or a family law case, contact the divorce and child custody lawyers at Epstein Family Law at 972-232-7673 to consult with a skilled Dallas family law attorney. We handle divorce and child custody cases in counties throughout the Greater Dallas area, including Dallas, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, Ellis, Rockwall, Kaufman, Johnson, Grayson, plus other counties throughout Texas.