Family courts expect divorced parents to work together in good faith to do what’s best for their children. In a perfect world, co-parents create a Parenting Plan and then not only follow it, but also remain flexible enough to solve problems and handle changes as they arise. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way.
When acrimonious exes fail to reach an agreement on any aspect in their Parenting Plan, often there will be a Parent Coordinator appointed to help parents resolve deadlock. In Missouri, Parent Coordination is a relatively new solution for an old problem – parents who cannot agree on an issue go see their Parent Coordinator instead of filing their complaint in the legal system and potentially waiting months for a result.
A Parent Coordinator is trained and certified in resolving high conflict custody issues. He or she is appointed by the Court to work with the parents and act in the children’s best interests. The role is similar to that of a mediator, but unlike most mediators, a Parent Coordinator is authorized by the Court to make legally-binding decisions if former spouses are unable to reach agreement. They may weigh in on disputed custody matters such as medical decisions, extracurricular activities, and scheduling conflicts including vacations.
The Parent Coordinator helps the parents create, modify and follow their parenting plan. They can facilitate better communication and problem – solving, and help foster a willingness to cooperate for the sake of the children. Engaging a Parent Coordinator can also speed up the process and help the couple avoid lengthy, expensive litigation.
Currently, a Parent Coordinator can only be appointed by agreement of the parents. This means you and your ex must agree to use a Parent Coordinator before you begin using this process. The Judge has no authority to require a family to use a Parent Coordinator.
With a combined 30 years in family law, the attorneys at Jones Family Law Group, LLC, are highly experienced in high conflict divorces. We can help you determine if you need a Parent Coordinator and provide the legal guidance you need.