A Parent Coordinator (PC) is usually a licensed mental health professional or an attorney assigned by the courts to manage ongoing issues in high-conflict parenting cases. The PC’s decisions then become court-ordered. We are also frequently seeing parents voluntarily engage a PC to help them with their conflicts around their children. The parents agree to abide by the decisions made by the PC.
Some of the issues where a PC may be of help:
- While a PC will not make significant changes to a previous parenting plan, he or she can make minor modifications and help with the implementation of the plan.
- In cases of very high conflict, a PC will structure communication between the parents to ensure that it is businesslike and respectful; for example, review emails before they are sent in order to limit the dialogue to children’s issues, or assist the parents in other ways to relate information about the children to each other.
- The PC will establish protocols for how the parents will be approaching specific situations to minimize the possibility of ongoing conflict between them.
- The PC will educate parents about the impact of high conflict on the children.
- In cases of very high involvement/high conflict between parents, a PC can help parents disengage from one another, and can guide them towards “parallel parenting,” so that they learn to respect each other’s parenting style.
- In cases of parental alienation, a PC may help with the repair and re-establishment of a relationship between a parent and a child.
- In cases of substance abuse or mental health issues, a PC may help in securing a safe environment for the children.
- The PC can make decisions if the parties do not agree on certain issues, including but not limited to children’s non-urgent medical care, or when/where/how family and friends can see the children.
- The PC will assist in any other issues that may be considered in the children’s best interest.
Bruce Berman, PhD., is a clinical psychologist practicing in Manhattan, who specializes in individual therapy, couples, sex and family therapy and collaborative divorce coaching. Bruce also works with families as a Parent Coordinator, privately as well as through FamilyKind, a NYC non-profit organization which provides services to families going through transitions, particularly divorce.
Bruce says in his own words…
“Parenting Coordination can be a very useful intervention for parents who are having difficulty communicating respectfully with each other and resolving repeated conflicts that arise over the parenting of their child(ren). By enabling parents to disengage from being in unremitting, intense conflict with one another and helping them to resolve conflicts regarding their children constructively, the parenting coordinator helps ensure that the children involved will be more likely to have a positive adjustment to their parents’ separation or divorce.”
If you have any questions, Bruce can be reached at: (212) 265-3594 www.brucebermanpsychologist.com
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