Arizona Parenting Coordinator Attorney
Phoenix Divorce Mediation Lawyer Helping with Dispute Resolution
In some cases, parenting issues may arise with continued frequency. Some parents cannot effectively communicate to each other or make joint parenting decisions, and may find themselves at risk for repeatedly returning to court, with the attendant issues of time or delay or expense. In order to expedite the resolution of disagreements, our legislature has provided for the appointment of a third party professional, known as a parenting coordinator, to work with the family. The utilization of a parenting coordinator is an alternative dispute resolution approach to avoid protracted litigation.
As an alternative to frequent trips to the courthouse, parents may wish to consider having a parenting coordinator appointed to assist them in resolving disagreements and implementing the parenting plan. Donna Heller is an experienced family lawyer and mediator who offers a collaborative and child-centered approach as a court-appointed parenting coordinator. She can facilitate the resolution of disputes in a timely manner, assist in the implementation of the parenting plan, monitor compliance with details in the plan, educate parents about children’s needs, and make decisions within the scope of the court order.
WHO IS A PARENTING COORDINATOR?
A parenting coordinator [PC] is a child-focused alternative dispute resolution process in which a mental health or legal professional with mediation training and experience may be appointed by the court in a family law case to assist parents to resolve disputes about parenting, and if necessary to make recommendations to the court for orders if the parents are unable to reach a resolution.
WHY ARE PARENTING COORDINATORS APPOINTED?
A PC may be a useful alternative to continually engaging in litigation which could save the parties time and money. The PC may reduce or even avoid the need for the parties to return to court, and may assist the parties to obtain resolutions to disputes in a more timely fashion than waiting for court hearings and decisions.
HOW IS A PARENTING COORDINATOR CHOSEN?
The parties may stipulate to a specific person, or the court may appoint someone.
WHAT TYPES OF PROBLEMS COULD A PARENTING COORDINATOR HELP WITH?
A PC can assist with issues such as schedules, overnight parenting time, choice of schools, extracurricular activities, exchanging the children, holiday scheduling, the handling of the children’s behavior, religious training, health issues, and problematic behaviors on the part of one or both parents. Parenting coordinators are also useful for families where parents have concerns about drugs, alcohol, abuse or the stability of the other parent.
WHAT ARE THE PARENTING COORDINATOR’S GOALS?
The parenting coordinator’s goals are somewhat different than those of a judge. A judge’s job is to make orders that are based on the law, including the best interests of the children. A parenting coordinator’s job is to assist parents in making parenting decisions in the best interests of the children and in accordance with the parenting plan, as set forth in their decree or the current court order. Whenever possible, a major goal is to help families develop their skills so they do not need a parenting coordinator. If this can be accomplished, the power to make decisions about their children is back in the hands of the parents.
WHAT CAN THE PARENTING COORDINATOR DO TO ASSIST RESOLUTION?
When a dispute is presented to the parenting coordinator, the coordinator may try to assist parents in reaching a resolution. The parenting coordinator might want to get other information such as the children’s opinion, information from doctors, therapists, schools or other caretakers. If the parties cannot come to an agreement, the parenting coordinator then makes a recommendation to the court for an order.
WHO PAYS THE FEES FOR A PARENTING COORDINATOR?
The parents usually pay the fees of the PC, as ordered by the court. However, the court may apportion how the fees are to be paid, or order that the fees may be subject to re-allocation if a party is being unreasonable.