Parenting coordination assists coParents to learn positive communication. When the parenting coordination process works well, it is easy to tell when it should end. Parents are no longer locked in conflict.

Or they can manage their differences so the children are not exposed to it. Decisions about the children are made for the children’s benefit. The children are not used as weapons of revenge or pawns to “win” the game of divorce. This doesn’t mean that parenting is now magically easy. Successful parenting is one of the hardest jobs on earth. It is never easy, just less difficult. The success of parenting is seen in well-adjusted children. Not perfect children, since that is unrealistic for any parent to expect. But children who know their place in the world, and know they are loved — by both of their parents.

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Even though there may be bumps in the road ahead, you have the tools you need to move forward without the help of a Parenting Coordinator. You have learned the “dance” of coParenting. The steps have changed from the dance you knew before the divorce. But now you know the new steps and can move without stepping on anyone’s toes. The cycle of parenting coordination starts with frequent sessions while parenting goals are set and issues are identified. The sessions are spaced farther apart as the parenting plan settles into a routine.

The parenting plan is reviewed for needed changes at certain trigger points: change from elementary to middle school; change from middle school to high school; remarriage; change in living arrangements (or one both parents moving) and any other change that affects the children’s well-being.

You have learned that a decision made for a child when she is five years old is probably not the best decision for her when she is thirteen. You and your ex have learned how to make changes without making war. The Florida law regarding divorce sums it up well: coParents “share the rights, responsibilities and joys of parenting.”

This does not mean that you cannot go back to the Parenting Coordinator for a checkup or tune-up. Some of my clients call after a year or two, needing a specific problem addressed. A checkup may mean that the parents have fallen back into bad habits of communication. Or the children have entered a new developmental phase that the parents were not aware of. This does not mean the parents are “bad parents.” A quick tune-up can get better communication and problem-solving strategies in place. Then the parents are on their way again.




About Debra Carter

Dr. Carter is a Clinical and Forensic Psychologist. She is also a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator and a Parent Coordinator. She is Co-Founder and Chief Clinical Director of the National Cooperative Parenting Center (NCPC) offering a wide spectrum of services to the Mental Health and Legal Communities as well as to families and children who are struggling with divorce related issues. She is, a frequent expert to the court, and an international speaker, lecturer and trainer on parenting in divorce. She is a consultant to the US Department of State in matters of international child custody.

Dr. Carter is the leader in the development of standardized Parental Responsibility Guidelines emphasizing the needs of children in divorce, which have been adopted and endorsed by the court. She has received numerous awards including the the prestigious “John E. Van Duzer Distinguished Service Award” from the International Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.

Her work can be found through Unhooked Books: