Harmony for Your Children: Cooperation During Conflict

Stamford Divorce and Family Law Attorneys

Tensions can run high during the holiday season and any divided custody situation. Whether it be reunions with old friends, too much time with family, or simply stress due to travel, gifts, or hosting parties, there are too many things going on and not enough time to deal with them all. Harmony is especially difficult to come by if you are one of the thousands of Americans coping with divorce or child custody proceedings. Where is your child going to spend holidays or birthdays? Will you divide up the time? Can you try to co-exist peacefully for a few days for your child's benefit? Regardless of your approach to custody scheduling, considering consulting with a mental health professional or agreeing on divorce mediation may help you amicably resolve your differences with your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

Parenting Coordination

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative dispute resolution, or, collaborating to solve legal matters outside of the courtroom, is becoming a common go-to in our busy society. Families that determine they do not want to spend the time or money, do not want to deal with taxing emotional consequences of being in a courtroom, or those that are unable to cooperate with one another, may want to consider using a parenting coordinator if they have children and assets to amicably provide for and divide post-divorce. A parenting coordinator is a relatively new phenomenon that tailors the use of an arbitrator or mediator to suit the specific needs of those seeking to resolve their differences without court intervention. In typical legal matters, an arbitration is a mini-trial of sorts that does not take place in a courtroom, and the decision is typically binding on the parties. A mediation, however, gives the flexibility of negotiation, and is a non-binding agreement so that both parties will usually walk away giving and taking a little bit. Mediation is a very common and amicable means of settling divorce-related disputes.

Mediator and Mental Health Professionals Merge

A parenting coordinator (PC) combines the roles of a mediator and a mental health professional (MHP). The PC's role in a divorce is helping the parties resolve their differences of opinion regarding their child's residence, education, finances, medical care, or other matters. The ultimate goal is to reduce family conflict, counsel and "coach" skills and coping mechanisms, and help families compromise. A PC will focus not only on the circumstances that are appropriate for the present situation, but will also consider future changes that may affect the agreement down the line.

A PC may have varying responsibilities depending on the nature of the conflict between the parties. The PC may be appointed by the court when there is already pending litigation and may be required to report to the court in some instances. PCs will often meet with each parent individually, and even the children, to determine the day-to-day issues the families are likely to encounter in the future. Importantly, these interactions can help PCs communicate with parents about their child's developmental, educational, and physical needs, which will have a positive impact on the child's upbringing. This aspect of a PC's interaction is much like a MHP, assessing the wants and needs of the parties and pinpointing any underlying issues or concerns.

Emphasis on Children

Aside from the exorbitant expense courtroom litigation may incur, the emotional aspect of formal litigation is taxing on a child. The definition of PCs from the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts shows the children-focused nature of this area of work, explaining that "[p]arenting coordination is a child-focused alternative dispute resolution process" and its objective is to "protect and sustain safe, healthy, and meaningful parent-child relationships."

With these objectives in mind, it is clear why PCs are an excellent alternative or addition to litigation. With someone who considers more than a short-term, quick fix solution, you can rest assured that your children and family's needs are being considered, and you are more likely to reach a resolution that will be effective for the long-term.

Connecticut Divorce and Family Law Attorney

If you or anyone you know is going through a divorce or struggling with child custody disputes, it might be time to consider parenting coordination. Regardless of whether you decide parenting coordination, mediation, arbitration, or court is the best option for you and your family, Prince Law Group, LLC's family law attorneys will help you navigate the process during this difficult time. We have the knowledge necessary to effectively work with families of all different backgrounds and concerns, and will work to protect your rights during this difficult and emotional time. This holiday season leads to others down the road, and having an amicable plan in place so you can spend time enjoying your time will help your family tremendously. Contact us today at (203) 977-3700 and begin the process of wrapping up your divorce and child custody concerns once and for all.