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Can a Parent Coordinator Help You?

April 20, 2022  | 
Hands woman expresses the concept of family

{3 minutes to read} When I meet with clients who will have difficulty in making joint decisions about their children after the Separation Agreement is signed, the first thing we do is discuss a structure that will help them.

If their level of conflict is so high that even after such a process, they STILL will be in conflict, we will discuss if they could agree to one parent making the final decisions. Or having one parent make final decisions regarding education issues while the other makes final decisions regarding medical issues.

If they are unwilling to have the other parent be the final decision maker in any capacity, then I will ask them to consider appointing a Parent Coordinator (PC). Although the PCs whom I would recommend are also trained as mediators, their role is quite different.

  • The parties enter into a contract with the PC so they can easily address any issues that come up in implementing their Separation Agreement.
  • If the PC’s attempt to settle the issue through mediation is unsuccessful, they will gather the necessary information to make a recommendation.
  • The PC can speak to the child, family members, caretakers, teachers, doctors, and mental health professionals treating the child.
  • The PC can make a recommendation based upon the information they have gathered and their experience with similar issues.
  • If the parties agreed to this in the contract with the PC, the PC could make a binding recommendation, subject only to a party’s right to contest it in court.
  • The PC can also help the parties implement their Agreement on issues like being late for access, holiday schedule disputes, and the like.

Without having a PC available to them, the parents would have no option but to file a petition in Family Court if they cannot agree on an issue or decision, and mediation is unsuccessful. This typically results in a multitude of petitions and cross-petitions, a great deal of emotional trauma for the parents and the children, and nothing being accomplished in any semblance of a timely fashion.

When clients express interest in the idea of a PC, I provide them with a list of recommendations and advise them to research them to see if they can agree upon the appointment of a PC plus an alternate. I will then include those professionals in the Agreement so that if an issue arises, the process is there and ready for them to use when they need it.

While mediation will always be the first option to me, a Parent Coordinator is something to consider as an alternative to being stuck in an endless loop of court filings.

Clare Piro Attorney and Mediator

Attorney & Mediator
500 Mamaroneck Avenue | Suite 320
Harrison, NY 10528
Tel: 914.946.0848

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