No one hopes for a divorce. If you’re facing this reality, you’re probably not happy about it. Even if your rational mind realizes it’s best for you and your partner to be apart, you may still be grieving the end of a meaningful relationship. And if the marriage ended badly, you may have animus towards your partner or the desire to seek revenge.

If all bridges in the relationship are effectively burned, coming to an agreement on even the most basic decisions regarding your kids can seem impossible. In highly contentious divorces such as these, a parenting coordinator may be called upon to help iron things out.

What is a parenting coordinator?

A parenting coordinator is a neutral third-party person who works with both parties in a divorce to help them reach agreements on day-to-day parenting decisions and arrangements. For example, if one parent is consistently late dropping their child off at the other parent’s house—resulting in the second parent regularly arriving late to work, conflict may arise. However, if the parents are not on speaking terms, such issues can be difficult to resolve and may instead lead to increased anger and resentment over time. A parenting coordinator serves to facilitate mutually beneficial agreements.

How do I get a parenting coordinator?

You can get a parenting coordinator in one of two ways:

  • A judge may appoint a parenting coordinator for you. This option is usually used in divorces that meet the legal definition of a high-conflict case—i.e., where there is an ongoing pattern of verbal or physical abuse, anger or distrust, superfluous litigation or a severe communication breakdown.
  • You and your ex-spouse can also request that a judge appoint a parenting coordinator for you, if you both believe it would help your case.

If the prospect of having to cooperate with your ex until your children are grown seems impossible, a parenting coordinator can be a wonderful asset. They can help you find short-term solutions to concrete issues and also work with both parties to find healthy ways to avoid conflict moving forward.