Parent Coordinator NYC
I have been a matrimonial/family lawyer for many years. As such I have been involved in such an array of conflict issues that while each new assignment is rarely unique each presents a disturbing reminder of the downside of once happy relationships now gone to conflict. A former judge’s law clerk used to say; “…until parents accept that their mutual love for their children exceeds their dislike for one another, battles will rage on.” I want to help put an end to senseless and volatile parental battles and conflicts and aid parents in developing a sixth sense of acting in a child’s best interests.
Whenever possible, a Parenting Coordinator should perform the agreed upon services pursuant to a Court order or by duly executed agreement of the parents (in consultation with their respective independent legal counsel).
As a Parent Coordinator in NYC, I will not provide services outside the scope of, or not closely related to the coordination process, unless otherwise related to the goal of achieving a resolution of the present conflict obstructing or otherwise interfering with sound parenting principals (as commonly understood) and, always in the best interest of the children of the parties.
What Is A Parent Coordinator?
A Parenting Coordinator’s primary role is to assist the co-parents in resolving or managing conflict regarding the children by exposing, confronting and encouraging the reduction of potential conflict both in action and ideology.
Parenting coordination (PC) is a child centered dispute and conflict resolution process. The most promising way to facilitate a resolution is to identify a dispute, or potential conflict, early-on before it develops into an all-consuming conflagration. Parent coordination encourages respectful, sustainable, proactive co-parenting. Both parents must recognize the damaging potential of irresolute behavior and commit to working on solutions.
The process is most often suggested for parents, or at least one of them, who, up to that point, have demonstrated a lack of concern and respect for the prospect of engaging, cooperating, and coordinating parental roles, duties and obligations.
Many find it problematic to work with a former intimate partner in compliance with parenting orders and agreements; and then, mindlessly, fail to protect their children from the fallout which emanates from intense conflict which follows.
Important Issues A Parenting Coordinator Can Help Resolve
When parents are unable/unwilling to reach agreement, and if previously authorized by the Court order, or with the consent of the parents, a PC may decide the disputed issue or make suggested modifications or recommendations. A PC’s authority may be granted to aid or resolve such matters as:
- minor changes or adjustments to access schedules and calendars;
- procedures for transition & exchange from one parent to the other;
- health care planning and management;
- daily schedules, parental home policies, routines and guidelines to facilitate continuity and consistency in the child’s home life;
- In conjunction with family mental &health care providers assess the health and mental status of child and parents;
- day care, school and educational related testing, selection and related issues and concerns, in conjunction with education professional;
- extracurricular and summer time activities;
- manner & extent of all communications between child and the parents, especially with regard to parent having access to child while with other parent;
- parenting or other remedial classes for either or both parents. This list is not meant to be all inclusive but rather illustrative and subject to change and
The Benefits From Working With Parenting Coordinator Paul E. Rudder, Esq.
A PC, in conjunction with each parent’s treating therapist, shall assist the parents in their efforts to reduce harmful conflict as a means of promoting a child’s best interests. In performance of the role, I may review custody evaluations, court orders, information and reports from collateral sources, protective orders and other relevant records such as educational records, medical, mental health, therapy, and treatment records, and self-reports and histories of misunderstandings, impasses and conflicts introduced by either parent.
Each parent shall be given an opportunity to be heard; both in support and in opposition to the issue under discussion.
In the face of continuous conflict, I may make assessments regarding the appropriateness of continuing both the co-parenting relationship and the parenting coordination process.
I may attempt to encourage the parents to further educate themselves on the impact of separation and divorce, under the best of circumstances; and the effects of conflict and the impact of negative parental behavior and actions on children.
In certain circumstances I may seek to engage with others involved with the family (other professionals, including teachers and lawyers), and family members and significant others. The object and goal always being to promote and foster a cooperating parenting partnership.
This dispute resolution process is inappropriate in matters involving perpetrators of intimate partner violence, or for those who utilize threats and coercive control in response to disagreements. “We do it my way… or else” is not the basis for sound and healthy co-parenting. To be an effective parent coordinator is to be alert to the ways and manners by which parents’ decisions must be directed so as to facilitate children’s best interests yet remain attuned to the variety of boundary violations foisted by a disgruntled parent. Might does not make right; I, as the PC, must be alert, and not permit well-meaning resolution tactics to fail when manipulated by an overpowering parent to enhance an already existing imbalance of power. Protocols and procedures (law and order!) must proceed with honest, good faith efforts from both parents if there is to be a successful resolution.
Throughout the process the PC shall inform and remind the participants of the limitations on confidentiality. In general, parenting coordination is not confidential. When and if deemed appropriate by the PC, the PC shall in his discretion, communicate and exchange information with a wide array of collateral sources and resources who have, or may have, a reasonable connection or relevance to the parties and issues in consideration ..
Although a PC is not neutral when making recommendations or decisions, it is crucial during the process to maintain a high degree of impartiality in order to adequately assist all parties. Should it appear that only one party has been heard; or if only one party sees the “justice” and fairness of the resolution “victory” will be short lived and we can be assured of recurring conflict.
Each parent must believe the plan/proposal presented or opposed has been heard, considered and understood and, hopefully, accept and appreciate the value of the selected resolution.
Parenting Coordination Techniques & Intervention
(From AFCC 2019 Guidelines: Family Court Review Vol 54 No. 4 Oct 2016)
A. Structuring the parenting coordination process:
- Initial queries/referral. Est. Protocols polices and boundaries
- Get Court Order/Executed Agreement
- Obtain informed /consent
- Office policies: cancellations; third parties Retainer agreement, costs, fees and expenses
- Intake (questionnaire, review of data, meet w/ parents, et al.)
- Clarify objectives and expectations and goals
- Meeting format-time, dates, places
- Conduct meetings whether to be in person, joint/indiv, electronic, etc
- Maintain records
- Appropriateness of continuation of the co-parenting process
- Need for referral to further/other professional services
- Acknowledgment/ recognition of compliance/violations of Agreement
- How to improve/implement approaches
- Need for safety procedures/interventions
- Fixing and abiding by limits within the scope of the process
- Acceptance of impact of divorce/conflict on one and all
- Risk and resiliency factors
- Recognizing Skills, styles, effectiveness, behavior reactions
- Identification of & Effects of coercive controlling behaviors
- Mandatory reporter of abuse/neglect