(1) have a court order (known as child arrangements order);
(2) a parenting agreement?
having difficulty communicating as effectively as you would like with your child’s other parent to discuss and implement the terms of your court order or parenting agreement?
both appreciate that the difficult communications you are facing are affecting you and your children?
If so, parenting coordination may be suitable for your family.
Which types of shared parenting responsibilities can our parenting co-ordinator help us with?
As parents with parental responsibility, you are responsible for and entitled to have joint input for decisions concerning your children’s care and upbringing. Generally, parenting coordinators support you to make decisions about things that fall under the umbrella of your shared parental responsibility, as well as to follow the terms of your court order or parenting agreement.
Typically, parenting coordinators can help you both discuss and consider the following:
- arrangements about your children’s day-to-day care
- difficulties you may be experiencing when children move between you and their homes – often referred to as ‘handovers’
- to help clarify parts of your court order or parenting agreement. Very often there are gaps or ambiguities that need filling and – with the benefit of hindsight – are open to various interpretations
- to assist with exchanges of information about your children
- to address temporary proposed changes to the usual arrangements in place for your children – for example to accommodate special events for the children and/or for you or your close family
- to address an instance of non-compliance with your court order or parenting agreement
- to consider why communications are difficult between you and to assist you to implement new and more positive communication strategies
- to address things that change as time passes, your children get older and their own needs change.
Judges in the family court of England and Wales regularly make clear that they cannot and should not be asked to act as substitute decision-makers for parents who are struggling to make shared parenting type decisions, such as those given in the examples above. This is because it is well understood that it isn’t in children’s best interests if parents are unable to communicate effectively about their needs.
What should I do if I am interested in meeting a parenting coordinator?
If you are considering parenting coordination, your parenting coordinator will first meet with you each separately in order to:
- understand both points of view, concerns and perspectives of the conflict, and
- to explore with each of you what you hope to achieve from the process.
This will enable your parenting coordinator to assess whether the process is likely to be beneficial for your family.
Provided your parenting coordinator feels they can offer you appropriate and suitable professional support, and it safe to do so, you will be invited to sign up to the parenting coordination process. Typically, you’ll be meeting with your parenting coordinator for joint sessions, although occasionally your parenting coordinator may wish to see you individually.
Overall, your parenting coordinator will work with you both to implement and sustain communication strategies that will help you hear one another and manage your conflict constructively. Click on the links below to find out more.