Kevin Qualls Family Law
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The role of a parenting coordinator in custody cases

A previous post on this blog talked about the role a guardian ad litem has in a child custody case in Orange, California. This blog has also previously reported on mediators, who are third parties that help parents and their attorneys resolve their custody disputes over custody or parenting time outside of court.

Another third party that parents might use in an effort to get their custody issues solved is a parenting coordinator. While a parenting coordinator does some of the same things as a guardian ad litem and a mediator, their role is slightly different.

One California court helpfully describes a parenting coordinator either as someone with a background in mental health or another family law attorney who holds himself or herself out as someone who can help resolve conflicts between parents who are in the middle of a contentious relationship and tend to quarrel over even little details pertaining to custody and parenting time.

The parenting coordinator serves as a resource to both of the parents, and he or she is supposed to help get the parents to arrange a suitable compromise in the event they get in to a fight about some issue over custody or parenting time.

Unlike a mediator, who helps parties come to an over-arching agreement one time, the parenting coordinator may help mediate several little problems over the course of months or years, with the idea being that eventually, the parents will be able to work things out themselves.

The parenting coordinator also has some additional power that a mediator does not in that, in the event of an impasse, the parenting coordinator can recommend a course of action to the court or, in some circumstances, even make binding decisions on some matters.

Parenting coordinators are usually involved in more contentious custody battles. If an Orange County resident feel he or she is in such circumstances, it may be helpful to discuss with an attorney whether a parenting coordinator is a good idea.

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