Posted by: Dr. Justin D'Arienzo, Psy.D., ABPP
Is parenting coordination effective? Great question! If we are talking about effectiveness as reducing conflict and improving the situation for the children, the immediate answer is, yes, it is extremely effective. However, there are certain factors that have to be in place for parenting coordination to be effective. First, the former husband and former wife both must both buy into the process, meaning that each party is utilizing parenting coordination to improve relations with their former spouse with the intention of reducing overall conflict for the children and to have greater peace for themselves. Often after years of discord, parents are ready to put the past aside, move on, and make peace. If one of the parents is using parenting coordination to push their personal agenda like changing time sharing to suit that parent rather than for the children, or for additional fact finding about the other parent’s new significant other, alternative lifestyle, or homework routine, then parenting coordination will not be effective. Remember, the goal of parenting coordination is to reduce conflict and if both parties don’t want this, they should not purse parenting coordination. Moreover, Parenting coordination can be utilized to make adjustments to the parenting plan as long as both parents are on board. Changing parenting plans is a natural process in divorce. As the kids get older, schedules and activities change, and parents must work together to alter the parenting plan as needed.
The other factor is whether the parties’ attorneys are supportive of the process. Parenting coordinators often need an attorney to step in and press their client to follow the parenting coordinators advice. The problem arises when the attorney and their client are using parenting coordination for their own agenda that parenting coordination unravels. It is understandable that attorneys are serving their clients, but if parenting coordination is utilized, serving the children’s needs over the needs of the parents must be the focus. A problem arises when a party does not agree with the parenting coordinator and then goes to their attorney with the goal of having the attorney assisting in removing the parenting coordinator from the case. If the attorney is swayed by their client and looks out for the client’s interests rather than trusting the parenting coordinator and looking out for the children’s interests, parenting coordination will fail. This is not as abnormal situation. I (Dr. D’Arienzo) have been the second and third parenting coordinator, and I have been removed from two cases and replaced because the client did not agree with my recommendations. Obviously, every person is not going to agree with my recommendations, especially if they are not committed to the parenting coordination process.
Finally, for parenting coordination to be effective, a parenting coordinator must not only be highly credentialed but also be well versed and experienced in the family law arena and understand the challenges divorced families face. In order to be qualified to be a parenting coordinator, one must be a mental health practitioner or lawyer, a certified family mediator, and then complete 24 hours of parenting coordination training. To be clear, if you want parenting coordination to be a positive and effective experience, choose the most highly qualified parenting coordinator that you can find. Although the most highly qualified parenting coordinators may appear costly upfront, they will save you thousands of dollars by helping both of you to avoid further litigation.
At D’Arienzo Psychology Group we offer parenting coordination services. Our two parenting coordinators are well respected, highly credentialed and experienced. Dr. D’Arienzo is a clinical and forensic psychologist, and Ms. Salameh is a lawyer. Both are Florida Supreme Court Family Mediators and Qualified Parenting Coordinators. If you and your former spouse are motivated to resolve conflict and make peace for your children, and your lawyers are on board with the process, our parenting coordinators will make a significant positive impact on your family. Contact us today at 904-379-8094 our stop by our office in Jacksonville, Florida.
Our Parenting Coordinators serve Duval County, Clay County, St. Johns County, Nassau County, and Baker County.