When the Courts Appoint a Parenting Coordinator

The court may order people to participate in parenting coordination to help them effectively resolve child-related disputes. When divorced and making decisions regarding their kids apart, parents may struggle to see each other’s points of view and to reach agreements on their own. In such cases, it may help for someone from outside the situation to help parents get on the same page.

What Is a Parenting Coordinator?

Serving as legal third parties, parenting coordinators are professionals who help divorced and separated parents work together on issues relating to the care and upbringing of their children. Typically holding a master’s degree or higher, these professionals have undergone specialized training to aid in dispute resolution. Those who may serve as parenting coordinators may include medical professionals, attorneys, social workers, and others who have met the necessary educational and training requirements.

When Will the Court Appoint a Parenting Coordinator?

Parenting coordinators may get involved in cases through court appointment. Family law judges may order people to enlist the services of a parenting coordinator if they deem it in the best interests of the children involved. The court may also order people to use parenting coordinators when they have a history of excessive disputes and court filings to help alleviate pressure on the courts’ calendars, have had physical altercations, or have otherwise shown an inability to effectually communicate and cooperate for the benefit of their children. One or both parents may also petition the court to ask for the appointment of a parenting coordinator.

How Do Parenting Coordinators Help?

As extensions of the court, parenting coordinators provide vital assistance to parents disputing issues relating to their children. Parenting coordinators may only act with the authority granted them in the order requiring parents to participate in parental coordination. They may make recommendations to the court or final decisions relating to parental matters such as the following:

  • Disciplinary actions
  • Health care management
  • Participation in babysitting or childcare
  • Participation in recreation, extracurricular activities, and sports
  • Sharing of holidays or vacations
  • Transition times and transportation methods for visitations

Parental coordinators do not have the authority to make final decisions regarding custody modifications. However, they may advise the court based on their interactions with the families they work with.

Kimberly Surratt served for eight years on the executive council and has been the vice chair and then chair of the State Bar of Nevada Family Law Section. In addition, she is the President-Elect of the Nevada Justice Association and the chair of the domestic lobbying committee. She has lobbied with the Nevada Justice Association since 2004.

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