Many Georgia families struggle with the stress and conflict involved in a separation or divorce. Oftentimes, the children are most adversely affected by this major life change. According to the State Bar Association of Georgia, approximately 20-30% of divorcing or separating parents have high conflict behaviors, which result in poor adjustment of their children. These behaviors can have negative long-lasting impact on the children as well as the health and wellbeing of the entire family.
In an effort to lessen the negative impact on children of divorcing or separating parents, Georgia has established a third-party representative, known as a “parenting coordinator.” A parenting coordinator works closely with the family under the authority given to them by the courts. Their aim is to focus on the best interests of the child, while resolving conflict and minimizing the high stress that children can experience when their parents separate or divorce.
The role of a parenting coordinator
A parenting coordinator is usually a family lawyer or a mental health professional trained to provide coordination services during high conflict divorces or separations. The services of a parenting coordinator can either be ordered by the court or voluntary. A parenting coordinator can be utilized during different stages of a divorce or separation and can be a useful tool when mediation is inappropriate or ineffective due to parental strife. Parenting coordinators can be empowered by the courts to make temporary decisions regarding custody and visitation, as long as those decisions are consistent with the family court’s order.
Parent coordination goals
According to the Georgia State Bar Association, the goals of parenting coordination during a divorce or separation are:
- Protecting the child from conflict
- Allowing the child to maintain love and respect for both parents
- Minimizing the child’s stress
- Improving the effectiveness of the co-parent relationship
- Maximizing parental cooperation and respect
- Developing effective communication skills
- Monitoring attempts at alienation
- Mediating or clarifying an existing parenting plan
- Reducing the risk of future litigation
- Supervising parental behaviors and compliance with court orders
- Reporting non-compliance to appropriate officials
- Referring those involved for necessary services
- Providing testimony for the children, if necessary
Certified parenting coordinator services for Gwinnett County, Georgia
Adam Stein, Esq. is a family lawyer and certified parenting coordinator. The Law Offices of Adam Stein, located in Lawrenceville, Georgia, proudly provides family law services to residents of Gwinnett County. For a free initial consultation, please visit our website at www.family-lawyer.biz or contact us by telephone at (770) 822-1985.