Increasingly, former spouses in South Florida are utilizing the services of a parenting coordinator. A parenting coordinator is a type of mediator who ensures parents comply with a written parenting plan. The aim of parenting coordination is to encourage communication between divorced parents and prevent their children from becoming a victim in their disputes.
In 2009, the Florida Legislature passed a law that allowed parenting coordinators to have a legal role in disputes between divorced parents. Under the law, a judge can appoint a trained parenting coordinator to mediate any disputes about shared responsibility of a former couple’s children. A parenting coordinator’s role is to help former spouses establish a detailed written plan for a variety of issues such as parental responsibility for certain child costs, child transfer locations and times, and the role of extended family members in a child’s life. When the law was passed, Florida had about 200 trained parenting coordinators. There are now approximately 300 parenting coordinators located throughout the state. Around 15 coordinators currently work in each of Florida’s 20 judicial circuits.
According to Fort Lauderdale family mediator Debbie Sedaka, time-sharing conflicts frequently account for the largest number of parental quarrels. Sedaka stated disagreements between divorced parents often break out during a child’s transfer. She believes a parenting coordinator’s most important role is to teach divorced spouses how to communicate with one another in a way that does not expose their children to more conflict. Pembroke Pines psychologist Pamela Silver said the job of a parenting coordinator is often a stressful one. She also stated it can be extremely difficult to act as a parenting coordinator in circumstances where parents cannot place the needs of their children above their own.
Still, an increasing number of judges and social service organizations believe divorced parents engaged in frequent conflicts can benefit from an outside mediator. Psychologist Jill Schwartzberg, who was recently trained to be a parenting coordinator for a family service organization near Boca Raton, stated it is necessary for parents to find a way to resolve their conflicts in a peaceful manner. Despite the sometimes difficult nature of the role, Schwartzberg believes it is important for parenting coordinators to do their best to protect the emotional well-being of children who come from high conflict families.
In Florida, a child custody agreement is referred to as a time-sharing schedule. A time-sharing plan will establish in writing which parent a child will spend weeknights, weekends, overnights, holidays, and school breaks with. If divorcing parents are unable to agree on a time-sharing schedule, a family court judge will create a time-sharing plan based upon a parent’s moral fitness, any evidence of neglect or abuse, and a variety of other statutory factors. If you are currently engaged in a time-sharing dispute, you should contact an experienced Florida child custody lawyer to discuss your rights.
Call Attorney Sandy T. Fox toll free at (800) 596-0579 if you are a parent involved in a bitter divorce or child custody battle. Mr. Fox is a skilled child custody attorney who is available to assist with implementing parenting coordination in your case. He also assists clients throughout South Florida with divorce, alimony, child paternity, child support, and other family law matters. To schedule a confidential consultation with a knowledgeable family law attorney, please do not hesitate to contact Sandy T. Fox through his website.
More Blog Posts:
Military Child Custody Law Passes U.S. House, Moves on to Senate, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, June 28, 2012
Alimony, Child Support, Equitable Distribution And Attorney’s Fee Award Reversed In Broward Divorce, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, June 25, 2012
After divorce, parent coordinators mediate for children, by Lois K. Solomon, Sun Sentinel