is parenting coordination?
Parenting Coordinators are health
care professionals who assist parents in implementing terms
of a Parenting Agreement or Court Order.
Coordination is a service for high-conflict couples who are
experiencing chronic difficulties in resolving parenting issues
between themselves. (Note that we are referring to cases where
significant conflicts persist more than 2 years after the
separation. Many separating couples exhibit high conflict
in the early stages of separation, but usually those issues
are resolved either as a result of an agreement or an interim
high-conflict couples are different. These couples keep returning
to their lawyers with issues that, from the legal standpoint,
might seem inconsequential, including vacation plans, Christmas
arrangements, pick-up and drop-off issues, children’s
activities, or minor adjustments to the parenting schedule.
But even when, on the surface, such issues seem relatively
minor, there is always a risk that they might escalate to
a point of crisis. For example, problems with access may turn
into outright denial of access; or issues at pick-up and drop-off
times might end up requiring police involvement. Some parents
abdicate their responsibilities altogether, as in failing
to make important decisions about which school their child
should attend, for example.
such clients would turn up at their lawyers’ offices
over and over, and sometimes court involvement might be necessary.
Parenting Coordinators (PCs) provide an alternative to that
route. In the Parenting Coordinator model, chronically high-conflict
couples may try to resolve their issues with the assistance
of a mental health professional, rather than resorting to
basic rationale for the PC model is that couples who are unable
to resolve some fairly ordinary parenting issues on their
own typically have some underlying emotional, personality,
and/or relationship issues that need to be addressed. Simply
having lawyers and courts settle issues for them is not necessarily
an effective way to help these couples. Unless these couples
learn to manage their own issues, they will simply be back
as soon as the next crisis happens. We have even found that
there are some couples who may never learn to manage completely
on their own and may benefit from having a professional on
call, so to speak, whom they can contact before issues escalate
here to download the entire article in PDF format
Marianne Cuhaci, M.S.W., R.S.W.
Social Worker and Family Mediator
K. Jones, B.A., M.A., AccFM (O.A.F.M.)
Family Consultant & Mediator
M.A., Coates, C.A., Duvall, B.B., Garrity, C.B., Johnson,
E.T., and LaCrosse, E.R. (2001). Working With High-Conflict
Families of Divorce: A Guide For Professionals. New Jersey,
London: Jason Aronson Inc.
C., and Baris, M. (1994). Caught in the Middle: Protecting
the Children of High-Conflict Divorce. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.