Exercising a Wide Range of Responsibility

Parent Coordinators can become involved in decision-making regarding every aspect of a child’s life post-divorce, consistent with the framework for legal and physical custody provided in a divorce decree or separation agreement, and with each parent’s custodial rights within that framework.  Parent coordination can address issues of:

  • child safety;
  • school selection;
  • academic interventions;
  • extracurricular activities;
  • school trips;
  • summer activities;
  • medical care;
  • psychotherapy;
  • special needs assessments;
  • a child’s access to technology;
  • holiday plans;
  • birthday parties; and
  • interactions with relatives.

Collaboration Under Fire: A Difficult Mandate

Because of the adversarial processes inherent in high-conflict divorce, parent coordinators need a high level of professional skill and personal maturity to handle:

  • continuous, unresolved conflict between the parties;
  • toxic, hostile and dysfunctional communication patterns between the parents;
  • inevitable displeasure by both parents with the coordinator’s decisions;
  • the likely perception of both parents that the parent coordinator favors the other parent, or is in “collusion”  with the child against that parent;
  • displacement onto the coordinator of each party’s resentment of the other parent, and of the trauma experienced in the divorce itself;
  • the parents’ frequent attempts to “split” the coordinator from the other parent, or from the child;
  • attempts by either parent (or both) to mask parental psychopathology, or to exploit its presence (or the perception of it) in the other parent;
  • manipulations by either parent over payment of the coordinator’s fee;
  • legal posturing, and  the constant risk of  further litigation;
  • the evolving interests of the child, and divergent interests of several children;
  • alliances formed by either parent with one or more of the children, or with third parties, against the other parent; and
  • involvement by lawyers for either parent to influence, manipulate or threaten the parent coordinator.