What is Parenting Coordination?

illustration of two adult hands passing a child back and forth - parenting coordination concept
Child custody can often be a difficult matter for parents to resolve, even when the parties are amicable. Parenting coordination is a type of alternative dispute resolution that can assist parents with developing an effective parenting plan that will meet their family’s needs — and the best interests of their children. Importantly, by working with a parenting coordinator to implement a parenting plan, parents can rest assured that they will have a child-centric plan in place that protects each parent’s relationship with the child.

What is Parenting Coordination?

Parenting coordination is a form of alternative disputes resolution that utilizes a trained professional, called a parenting time coordinator, who focuses on helping parents improve their communication and resolve their parenting time disputes. The objective of parenting coordination is to help parents move past any conflicts they have with each other in order to co-parent in a way that meets the best interests of their children. Specifically, parenting coordination addresses the day-to-day issues parents face, including those involving holiday schedules, medical concerns, discipline, education, and the costs associated with extracurricular activities. Parents may either agree to work with a parenting time coordinator — or the court may appoint one in the case if needed. One or both parties will be required to pay for the costs associated with their services. The ultimate goal of parenting coordination is to ensure parents are equipped with the tools they need to communicate with each other in a healthy manner and stay out of court. The frequency of the parenting coordination sessions depends upon the complexity of the issues that must be resolved in the case and the conflict level between parents.

What Role Does a Parenting Time Coordinator Play?

Parenting time coordinators are trained mediators whose work focuses on helping parents implement effective parenting plans. During parenting coordination sessions, the parenting time coordinator meets with co-parents and provides them with coaching and training. Rather than encouraging the “win-at-all-costs” mentality that is often part of the litigation process, a parenting time coordinator helps parents transition into a positive co-parenting relationship. This can be particularly crucial in the first year following a divorce or high-conflict custody battle. A parenting time coordinator does not offer legal advice or take sides. However, they can assess records, serve an educational role, help with case management, and make decisions pursuant to a court order if parents are unable to reach an agreement. Not only does a parenting time coordinator provide co-parents with resources and tools to resolve their disputes amicably, but they help them to develop the ability to resolve their own conflicts without the help of a third-party. Significantly, a parenting time coordinator assists the parents with building a new co-parenting relationship and putting their personal differences aside so they can prioritize the well-being of their children.

What are the Benefits of Parenting Coordination?

Parenting coordination has many benefits — for both the co-parents and their children. Notably, parents can resolve their disputes quickly and cost-effectively with the help of a parenting coordinator while avoiding the escalation of arguments and the delay that can often come with litigation. In addition, parenting time coordinators may continue to work with the parents after the initial parenting plan disputes have been resolved in some cases. Among the benefits of parenting coordination include the following:
  • It reduces the likelihood of returning to court
  • Parenting coordination saves time and money that would otherwise be spent on litigation
  • It results in less conflict and fewer arguments
  • It can help to create a more positive home environment for the child
  • Children can learn problem-solving skills by watching their parents resolve their disputes in a healthy manner
  • It can eliminate the tension children feel when they observe conflict between their parents
  • Parents are able to identify the root cause of their dispute
  • It focuses on the best interests of the children, rather than the disagreements of parents
  • It encourages parents to take an active role in their children’s lives
Although there are many similarities, it’s important to understand that parenting coordination is not the same as mediation. While both can assist parents with reaching decisions regarding their children in a non-adversarial environment by using a neutral third party, parenting coordination is not confidential. While a mediator cannot be brought into court to testify about what occurred during mediation sessions, a parenting coordinator can be called into court to provide testimony about what happened during the session. Critically, this can often serve as an incentive for both parents to be on their best behavior and work together to reach a resolution.

Contact an Experienced Oregon Family Law Attorney

If you are facing a dispute regarding a parenting time matter, it’s essential to have a skillful attorney on your side who can assist you with reaching an outcome that is best for you and your children. Based in Salem, Litowich Law provides compassionate counsel and diligent representation for a wide variety of family law matters, including those involving parenting time, throughout Oregon. We welcome you to contact us for a consultation.
Categories: Child Custody, Divorce