Parenting Coordination

Kimberly Stamatelos is one of the first attorneys in Iowa to be trained as a parenting coordinator (PC). In this role, she helps co parents who are still in conflict make decisions and learn skills in how to work together for the best interest of their children. The PC can assist in the implementation of the parenting plan and can help the parties understand the needs of the children. so the children can thrive in a home without stress caused by parents who are in high conflict.

Parties agree by COURT ORDER or by contract to consult with the parenting coordinator who has the authority to speak to the parties, the child(ren), counselors and others familiar with the dispute. Then, depending on the scope of the authority of the order or contract, the parenting coordinator can make decisions so parties break impasse and move on with their lives and with their parenting responsibilities.

Most issues heard by the parenting coordinator are not issues that justify the cost and delay inherent in court proceedings. Yet, they are issues which cause tension and stress to families. By having the parenting coordinator available, parties can resolve disputes and learn how to make decisions in parallel parenting.

 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Who needs a parenting coordinator? 
Parents who have conflict and tension and cannot communicate, or cannot make decisions pertaining to their children can benefit from a parenting coordinator. Parties hire a parenting coordinator to:

  • de-escalate parental conflict to which the children are exposed
  • focus on their child(ren)”s needs and best interests
  • promote their child(ren)”s optimum adjustment;
  • resolve issues and disputes in a timely and cost efficient manner without litigation;
  • coach parties on better ways to communicate about the children.

How is a parenting coordinator hired? 
The court may order the parties to use a parenting coordinator or the parties may agree by contract to do so. Parties requesting parenting coordination may contact Kim at:  kim@thecompassionatealliance.com.

What types of issues does the parenting coordinator help resolve? 
Examples of issues the parenting coordinator may help resolve include:

  • Dates, time, designated person, location, and method of pick up and delivery;
  • Reorganization of school vacation and/or holiday time resulting in increases/ decreases of one week or less.
  • Modification of schedule by not more than four nights per month including, but not limited to, modifications when developmentally appropriate for children under the age of six.
  • Care providers for child(ren)
  • Child rearing disputes such as bedtime, diet, clothing, homework, and discipline.
  • Scheduling disputes arising from afterschool, enrichment, athletic, and other activities.
  • After school and enrichment activities
  • Health care management
  • Participation of others in child’s time with each parent (significant others, relatives, etc.)
  • Resolving conflict over money owed between co parents for children’s expenses
  • Religious observances and education
  • Haircuts, body piercings, tattoos.
  • Any other issues agreed to by the parties or the Court.

Can the parenting coordinator change custody? 
No, the parenting coordinator may not make custody changes.

Does the parenting coordinator make recommendations or temporary decisions? 
The parenting coordinator can make recommendations to the parties or the court, or they may formally make decisions or break impasse, if the parties or the court agree. All powers of the parenting coordinator are spelled out in the order or contract.

Who pays for the parenting coordinator? 
The parties typically share in the cost of parenting coordination however the PC can determine a different allocation of fees if it is appropriate under the circumstances of the family. A retainer from each party is required.  The cost is $200 per hour.

Is the PC the same as a Guardian ad Litem? 
No, the guardian ad litem actually REPRESENTS the child’s best interest in court. The PC helps the ENTIRE FAMILY resolve conflict and implement healthy parenting. Although trained as an attorney, the PC does not render legal advice.

What if the parents disagree with the recommendations or decisions of the parenting coordination? 
The order or contract specifies the format for registering the disagreement with the parenting coordinator.

Can the Parenting Coordinator testify in court? Yes.  Unlike the mediator, the PC may testify in court about matters that take place in parenting coordination sessions. However, the PC is not meant to be a “trap” or “set up” to try to win a custody modification. The role is meant for families who want to heal and resolve conflict.

To request parenting coordination contact Kim at kim@thecompassionatealliance.com