What is Parenting Mediation or Custody Coordination?
Parenting and custody coordination is a child-focused method of alternative dispute resolution, (meaning non-adversarial) used in minimal to high conflict child custody situations. A parenting coordinator is a neutral third-party mediator. They can be an attorney or psychologist with specialized training in mediation or parenting coordination. They help parents make better decisions concerning the parenting of their children.
What Does the Parenting Coordinator or Custody Mediator Do?
The terms “parenting coordinator” and “custody mediator” are interchangeable and referrer to one and the same professional.
- The parenting coordinator or custody mediator teaches the parents to shift their positions from focusing on the “self” to focusing on the child or children. What the child needs becomes more important that what “I” need.
- The parenting coordinator or custody mediator teaches the parents the skills required to resolve their disputes and make decisions in the future without lawyers, courts, judges or even parenting coordinators.
- The parenting coordinator or custody mediator helps the parents improve their communication skills when discussing parenting issues. Poor communication is one of the hallmarks of a marriage that ends in divorce, a factor that is doubly present in high conflict custody case. It is not possible for parents to co-parent effectively without first being able to communicate with one another.
- The parenting coordinator or custody mediator does not decide which parent will be a child’s primary caretaker; that decision remains with the parents; or if the parents can not agree, the final decision will be the responsibility of the judge.
- The parenting coordinator or custody mediator teaches the parents about particular developmental issues faced by their children based on their age group. They referee the conflicts between the parents in an attempt to help them reach mutual parenting agreements.
- The parenting coordinator or custody mediator endeavors to do as the Chinese proverb states: “Feed a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” The best and most effective parenting coordinators or custody mediators spend the bulk of their time and energy teaching the parents skills they will need to co-parent for a lifetime.
- The parenting coordinator or custody mediator provides immediate relief from critical or acute issues by offering short-term solutions. Thereafter, they work on long term and follow up issues and help the parents create specific, individual and comprehensive parenting plans for future conflict avoidance.
- The parenting coordinator or custody mediator shall and must remain neutral – even in challenging scenarios. However, they are not neutral when it comes to the best interest of the children in order to ensure that all responsibilities to the child and the Courts are fulfilled.
Parenting Plans: What Do They Include?
A comprehensive parenting plan will include and address most of the following issues:
- Custody: Legal and physical decisions for the children. Where will the child primarily reside? Or is it a shared legal and physical custody?
- Legal Custody: Major decisions regarding the children’s health care, education, religion, disciplining, or any other major decisions.
- Parental Communication: How will parents share children’s calendars and schedules? Transition times and transportation; Parenting times and changes to the schedule; Right of First Refusal (overnights and or regular parenting plan right of first refusal); Holidays, snow days, half school days and vacations; Extra-curricular activities; clothing and sporting equipment; day to day disciplining, homework and other decisions; Emergency communications, decisions and emergency contacts; Out of state travel and vacations; Future review and adjustments of the parenting plan.
Why Should I Hire CT Mediation Center for Parenting Mediation or Custody Coordination?
The use of a parenting coordinator or custody mediation is one of the most helpful, beneficial, cost effective form of alternative dispute resolution. Custody or Parenting mediation is a safe, neutral, constructive and educational solid ground at the middle of the swirling maelstrom of anger, hurt, hostility and conflict some parents face while they divorce.
At CT Mediation Center, our attorneys and mediators help couples prioritize their children and utilize non-litigious, constructive approaches to custody and parenting disputes. Our mediated parenting coordination model enables parents to resolve contested issues without the need for costly litigation, while preserving the children’s best interests.
When advisable, the attorney mediators a CT Mediation Center utilize the expertise of other professionals such as attorneys specializing in GAL (guardian at litem) or parenting coordinators who can address the physical, mental and developmental needs of the children involved.
We have 4 convenient offices located in Glastonbury, Farmington, Enfield, and New London. Call (860)986-1141 or fill out the contact form today to learn more about how we can help you.