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The role of a parenting coordinator

Child custody cases can become inflicted with anger and stress. Going up against your ex-spouse to determine who gets the children cannot only take a toll on yourself but spiral down to your children.  

So how do you keep away from the conflict the case can involve? Is there someone who can help? 

What is a parenting coordinator?

A parenting coordinator is a court-appointed, third-party provider who takes the role of resolving conflicts surrounding parenting issues. According to Massachusetts family court rules, the judge or the parties can consent to appoint a coordinator. 

For an individual to become appointed by the court, he or she must: 

  • Be a licensed Massachusetts attorney, psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker 
  • Have professional insurance coverage or $100,000 or more 
  • Have completed at least 30 hours of mediation training 
  • At least six hours training in abuse and family violence 

He or she must also have at least 35 hours in specialty training in communication, conflict management and dispute resolution, problem-solving techniques and parenting in separate households. 

What is the benefit of having a parenting coordinator?

If you and your ex-spouse are not on speaking terms or cannot agree to custody arrangements, the parenting coordinator may be highly beneficial. The individual will work with both of you to determine: 

  • Temporary variations in the schedule for special events or circumstances 
  • Children’s participation in extra-curricular activities, recreation and travel 
  • Discipline and behavior management 
  • Clarification of provisions in the court-ordered parenting plan 

The parenting coordinator can help you identify issues that have the potential of causing more serious problems.  

Family court judges can issue an order for a parenting coordinator without the parents’ approval if they believe it is in the child’s best interest.