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Parenting Coordination- What is it and how it can affect my family?

Parenting Coordination and Facilitation is defined in the Texas Family Code as: "An impartial third party appointed by the court, or by mutual mediated agreement, to assist parents in resolving issues related to parenting and other family issues arising from an order in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship."

Essentially, instead of continuing to go about your divorce or child custody matter, an independent therapist or counselor would be appointed by your judge to help you and your opposing party solve whatever child custody matters are apparent in your case.

Called "Parenting Coordinators" or "Parenting Facilitators," these folks have the task of promoting education and empowerment to you and your children's other parents. Once you both have been able to see the issues a little more clearly- and can understand what alternative dispute resolution methods are available other than a court date- you and they can negotiate a parenting plan that is in your child's best interest. At the same time, you can minimize conflict and reduce the likelihood of a return trip to a court in the years to come.

How can this be done? First and foremost, communication is critical. Part of the reason that you and your children's other parent are currently engaged in a family law dispute is likely because communication is not one of your strong suits. It could be that you've had bad experiences with them previously and this area, and you had more or less given up working proactively on any subject- including your children.

The benefit of having a Parenting Coordinator/Parenting Facilitator to assist you is that they are not emotionally invested in the relationship and, as a result, can help you to see the issues from an object and more impartial perspective.

What issues will a Parenting Coordinator assist you with within a family law case?

The Family Code states which specific areas a Parenting Coordinator is to help you resolve a parenting plan. They will assist you and your polar regions in the following areas:

  1. Reducing misunderstandings;
  2. Clarifying priorities;
  3. Exploring possibilities for problem-solving;
  4. Developing methods of collaboration in parenting;
  5. Understanding parenting plans and reaching agreements about parenting issues to be included in a parenting plan and;
  6. Complying with the court's order regarding conservatorship or possession of and access to a child;
  7. Implementing parenting plans;
  8. Obtaining training regarding problem-solving, conflict management, and parenting skills; and
  9. Settling disputes regarding parenting issues and reaching a proposed joint resolution or statement of intent regarding those disputes

From the perspective of a practicing family law attorney, these are all issues that come up with great frequency in a divorce or child custody case. Let's examine a few of the most important ones that I believe a coordinator could stand to help you or any other person with during a family law case.

Reducing misunderstandings

Again, suppose you are going through family law. In that case, it is very likely that at least one significant piece of information is either being communicated poorly or is not being communicated at all to the opposing party.

This piece of information could be the motivation for seeking a child custody modification or could be the reason why you are seeking sole conservatorship of your child. Sometimes if the parties in a case allow their attorneys to act as to how communication is achieved, there can be difficulties in ensuring the message is conveyed correctly.

A parenting coordinator can focus on particular issues and communicate those to either side without the risk of misinterpretation or misunderstanding. If you and your opposing party understand where either side is coming from, it is easier to approach them with goodwill in hopes of settling on an issue relating to your children. At the very least, you both will be able to operate with the same information in mind.

Developing methods for collaboration in parenting

It could be that you and your opposing party have ample opportunity to come together to show a united front to your children but have just not identified those opportunities. What if you not only saw those opportunities for what they are but were able to work on them in an environment that encouraged teamwork? That seems like a win-win for me.

Your children would benefit from their having both parents weigh in on the same side of an issue. You and your opposing party now have one more minor problem to fight about and can feel like you accomplished something together for once when it comes to parenting.

Settling disputes regarding parenting issues and reaching a proposed joint resolution or statement of intent regarding those disputes

If you can utilize a parenting coordinator to increase the lines of communication between you and your spouse and then pinpoint particular issues that need work, it is more likely that you can avoid relying on the judge to resolve those issues.

Every parent's goal in a family law case should be to make decisions in their children's best interest. Going to the opposing party in your case in an honest effort to settle any outstanding issues increases the chances of reaching an agreement that does so dramatically.

Questions regarding Parenting Coordinators? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, represents clients across southeast Texas in family law. If you have any questions on this subject or any other, please do not hesitate to contact our office. A free-of-charge consultation with one of our licensed family law attorneys is available six days a week. We can answer your questions and discuss the services that we can provide to you as a client of our office.

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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's essential to speak with one of our Houston, TX, Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce lawyers in Houston, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.

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