• Parent Coordination FAQ

    • What is parenting coordination?

      Parent coordination or “parenting” coordination is a child-focused alternative to child custody litigation. Parent coordination combines mediation, education, case management, conflict management and sometimes decision-making functions to help high-conflict parents establish and maintain a healthy co-parenting relationship.

    • What is a parent coordinator?

      A parent coordinator is a neutral third party who helps separated, divorcing or divorced parents resolve child-related disputes outside of court. Not all parent coordinators are lawyers. Attorney Beth G. Reineke has received special training as a parent coordinator, and this combined with her years of legal experience gives her the expertise necessary to help families who are in crisis.

    • What is the role of a parent coordinator?

      A parent coordinator assists parents in developing and/or implementing their parenting plan by: facilitating the timely resolution of disputes; educating parents about their children’s needs; monitoring parental behavior; and, with prior approval of the parties or the court, making temporary decisions within the scope of the court’s orders or appointment contract.

    • How does parent coordination work?

      The parent coordinator usually meets with both parents on a regular basis to help them identify and resolve issues related to their shared parenting responsibilities and time-sharing schedules as set out in their parenting plan.

    • What is a parenting plan?

      A parenting plan is a document developed and agreed to by the parents of a minor child and approved by the court (or, if the parents cannot agree, established by the court), which governs the relationship between the parents regarding the child. A parenting plan addresses shared parenting issues related to the minor children’s education, health care, and physical, social, and emotional well-being, and must include a time-sharing (visitation) schedule.

    • What is a time-sharing schedule?

      Florida no longer uses the term “visitation.” A time-sharing schedule is a timetable included in a parenting plan that specifies the time, including overnights and holidays that a minor child will spend with each parent. If developed and agreed to by the parents of a minor child, it must be approved by the court. If the parents cannot agree, the schedule shall be established by the court.

    • What is shared parenting and what is shared parental responsibility?

      Shared parenting or shared parental responsibility is a relationship in which both parents retain full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to their children and in which both parents confer with each other so that major decisions affecting the welfare of their children will be determined jointly. (It is common to have shared parental responsibility even if the child lives primarily with one parent.)

    • How do you get a parent coordinator?

      The parents can voluntarily agree that they will work with a parent coordinator or one may be appointed by the court.

    • What kinds of issues does a parent coordinator address?

      A parent coordinator will address the parenting issues the parents are having related to their minor children. And, if specified in the court’s order or agreement appointing the parent coordinator, a parent coordinator may have the authority to make minor decisions regarding certain parenting issues if the parents are unable to agree. These issues include:

      • Parenting time schedules, including vacations and holidays
      • Allocation of decision making
      • Parent communication (between the parents and with the children)
      • Transitions or exchanges of the children
      • Health care matters
      • Child-rearing issues
      • School choice
      • Extracurricular activities
      • Religious observances and education
      • Clothing and personal possessions of the children
      • Hairstyles, tattoos and ear and body piercing
      • Contact with significant others and extended family members
    • Can a parent coordinator make decisions for the parents?

      Parent coordinators can make recommendations to the parents and temporary decisions for the parents within the scope of authority delineated by the court’s order or the parents’ agreement. However, a parent coordinator cannot make decisions that permanently or substantially alter a court-approved temporary or permanent parenting plan.

    • What if I don’t like the decision that the parent coordinator makes?

      The method by which parents may voice their objections to a parent coordinator’s recommendations and temporary alterations of the parenting plan are usually outlined in the court order or agreement appointing the parent coordinator.

    • What is the difference between a parent coordinator and a child custody evaluator?

      A child custody evaluator is appointed by the court to investigate the facts, evaluate the family and make a recommendation to the court about allocation of parental duties and time sharing. A parent coordinator is not an evaluator and does not make recommendations to the court. A parent coordinator works directly with the parents to assist them in deciding what is in the best interest of their children, so that the parents, and not the court, develop and implement their parenting plan.

    • Who pays the parenting coordinator?

      Most often the parent coordinator’s fees are allocated between the parties, based upon their relative incomes. The court order appointing the parent coordinator or the parties’ stipulation usually indicates how the fees are to be paid. Attorney Reineke will discuss her fees and the costs for which you will be billed and methods of payment prior to beginning the parent coordination process.