Why would you need a Parenting Coordinator?
Your constitutional rights to your
children are a primary focus for our team. When decisions regarding children’s visitation,
school, doctors, or virtually any issue regarding a child go smoothly between
divorcing or divorced parents, the entire family benefits. But when a
disagreement becomes a deadlock, the entire family suffers. In litigation where
such disputes escalate to “high conflict,” Oklahoma law makes provision for a
Parenting Coordinator to step into the picture.
Parenting Coordinator’s Role:
“High conflict” pertains to any
case involving ongoing litigation, anger between parties, verbal abuse,
physical abuse or threats of physical abuse, and/or pervasive trouble
communicating and carrying out mutual decisions for the children’s care.
In Oklahoma, a licensed mental
health professional or an attorney with experience in handling family law
issues may serve as a PC. The PC attorney is neither counsel for either party
nor a mediator. Instead, he or she is appointed to resolve issues with
co-parenting. Per statute, these include the following:
· Identifying disputes
· Reducing misunderstandings
· Clarifying priorities.
· Facilitating ways to compromise
· Establishing methods of communication between parents
Given these broad powers, parents have the ability to limit or expand the specific issues the PC can address in the Order of appointment.
A PC does not have unlimited power, though. It’s important to remember that this process focuses on building collaboration and peaceful resolution. Although the Order may state that a PC’s decisions are effective immediately without court review, a PC’s powers do not include the following:
· Modify any court Order or judgment in place
· Determine custody or visitation
· Hinder court appointed visitation with a third party
Both Now and Later
A PC provides a neutral voice
quickly. It may take months for disputed issues to come to trial, and parents
need workable solutions in the meantime. A PC meeting can be scheduled quickly,
and recommendations will be issued within twenty days of the meeting, according
In addition to solutions, a PC can
work through difficult relationship dynamics in a way that parties cannot. He
or she provides strategies to make communication easier regarding hot-button
issues. A PC can also help balance the
power between parties in an abusive or controlling relationship.
The solutions can be provided
quickly, and they have lasting impact. Co-parenting starts with communication,
and in difficult or tough cases, that process often starts with a PC. The
guidelines and strategies set now have long-lasting effects on your family and
your children’s future well-being.
have extensive experience both
serving as Parenting Coordinators who consistently lead clients and their
families to mutually agreeable resolutions in high conflict cases and working
with appointed Parenting Coordinators during the course of litigation. Contact
us to discuss exploring this option in your family law case.