The reality is that most issues that arise between parents about their children are not legal issues. They are parenting issues: whether a child will take a particular medication, what timesharing schedule is best for the children, where the children will attend school, what activities the children will participate in, what church a child attends. As a result, the judge is often not the best person to resolve their disputes because no one of these disputes involve any legal issues. Also, quite frankly, the judges do not want to see parties in Court every week, asking them to solve their problems for them. Parents who are not in the Court system routinely resolve their differences with no help from anyone, every day. The judges do not want parents to become dependent on the Courts to solve their problems for them.

There are other alternatives. One of the best alternatives is to use a parenting coordinator. A parenting coordinator is a therapist who is also well versed in how the family courts work. They are familiar with how the judges might rule. They also are experienced helping couples navigate speed bumps as they co-parent their children. Parents who are try to avoid court meet with the parenting coordinator they select. It might be once; it might be several times. It might be periodically over several years, as problems arise. The goal is to avoid bringing the Court into the mix (unless absolutely necessary).

If the parties reach an agreement on the issues they have been stuck on, the parenting coordinator can put this in writing, and with the permission of the parties, file the resolution in the Court record as evidence of what the parties agreed on. The parents can decide that it will be treated as a legal agreement.

A parenting coordinator can also help the parents work on their communication skills. In many cases, what lies beneath the inability to resolve the differences that arise without outside help is poor communication skills. The parenting coordinator can help the parents improve those skills, so the parents reduce their need for outside help to resolve their own problems.