Parental responsibility: The role of a parenting coordinator

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In a divorce settlement, developing a parenting plan can be a painstaking process, as both spouses must agree on guidelines that dictate essentially every element of day-to-day child rearing, from band practice pick up to national holidays. If two parties are unable to agree on an satisfactory plan, even with the guidance of their Miami divorce lawyers, a court may appoint a parenting coordinator to assist with this important undertaking.

As of July 2012, the Sun-Sentinel reported that there were 300 parenting coordinators working in Florida, who are evenly divided between 20 judicial courts across the state.

The legal role of these figures was officially established in 2009. These details are outlined in Florida Statute 61.125, and read as follows:

“The purpose of parenting coordination is to provide a child-focused alternative dispute resolution process whereby a parenting coordinator assists […] in creating or implementing a parenting plan by facilitating the resolution of disputes […] by providing education, making recommendations, and, with the prior approval of the parents and the court, making limited decisions within the scope of the court’s order of referral.”

By law, a Florida parenting coordinator must either be licensed mental health professional or a physician with certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. The Florida Supreme Court may also certify an individual with a master’s degree in a field related to mental health as a family law mediator, which would enable them to qualify as a parenting coordinator. Finally, being a member “in good standing” of The Florida Bar could be considered for this role. Provided that an individual meets one of these criteria, they are required to undergo thorough training program, also detailed in 61.125.

A Miami family lawyer can also play an integral role in developing a parenting plan that will best serve your child. Contact Scott A. Ferris, Esq. for guidance regarding this complex and crucial process.