The Role of the Parenting Coordinator

The process of divorce can last a long time. And, if there's added conflict, it affects the children. To protect them, there are specific mediating figures. Find out more here.
The Role of the Parenting Coordinator
Gorka Jiménez Pajares

Written and verified by the psychologist Gorka Jiménez Pajares.

Last update: 07 June, 2023

Divorce can be a real minefield, especially for children. A parenting coordinator is in charge of facilitating the relationship between parents and their children and resolving disagreements. In fact, their goal is to help make the transition a little smoother for the children in the equation.

Breakups are often painful events. Separation can provoke an atmosphere full of frustration, anger, and sometimes even hate. Unsurprisingly, this context can affect children’s health. Here, you can find out what else this kind of situation entails and how a parenting coordinator can help.

“As a result of divorce, children may exhibit symptoms related to bad behavior, depression, or school failure.”

-Zafra Espinosa de los Monteros-

Parenting coordinatoó

An article published in the journal, Actualidad del Derecho en Aragón (Law Today in Aragón) defines parenting coordinators as facilitators for parents in the interest of the children if the specific difficulties of divorce or the rupture of a relationship make it necessary.

The figure of the parenting coordinator originated in the United States but is now also common in Europe and Latin America.

In fact, the Revista Chilena de pediatría (Chilelan Pediatric Journal) states that several countries adopt educational programs from the moment a divorce is filed, with the aim of helping children cope with the situation. This study specifically mentions the case of Australia. In this country, the method has demonstrated a reduction in levels of conflict along with better management of them.

When parents divorce, their children can often feel like objects of exchange. In addition, their parents are frequently so busy focusing their attention on the legal process they’re going through, they might minimize the attention their children require.

The scars of divorce are even greater when there’s a lack of mutual agreement. In this kind of scenario, the child tends to involuntarily distance themselves from one of their parents. They might even assume that this profound change in their relationship will last indefinitely.

“The actions and decisions adopted by the parenting coordinator always have a subjective interest: the children.”

-Zafra Espinosa de los Monteros-

Girl affected by argument between her parents
In the midst of a conflictive divorce, parents might reduce the attention they give to their children.

Functions of parenting coordinators

Although they use mediation techniques and knowledge, the parenting coordinator’s work goes further. In fact, their function is oriented to the conflict that’s impacting the children. Therefore, they lack neutrality. Indeed, their mission is to re-educate parents regarding the care of their children, because their protection is vital.

Among other tasks, the parenting coordinator prepares a parenting scheme that includes the following aspects (Zafra Espinosa de los Monteros, 2019):

  • What the child’s free time will be like.
  • How the vacation periods will be organized.
  • Where the child will habitually reside.
  • How the parents will share information related to the child.
  • How the division of the care of the child between the parents will be organized.
  • What tasks in relation to the daily activities of the child each parent will be responsible for.
  • What education the child will receive and what activities outside of school they’ll attend.
  • How the changes of residence of the child will take place and how the economic expenses will be divided.
  • How both parents will communicate with the child, especially at times when they’re with the other parent.
  • Write a report for the court detailing how their intervention with the family has been. As a matter of fact, a judge can take legal action based on this document.

“Sometimes, parents get carried away by their own problems and children are left unprotected, as they don’t look out for their true interests.”

-Zafra Espinosa de los Monteros-

Parents and child attend a meeting with a parent coordinator
The reports raised by the parenting coordinators could be considered by a court to make judicial decisions.

You might be interested to read How a Separation or Divorce Affects a Child

The aim of the parenting coordinator is the welfare of the child

If the parenting plan is highly structured, the Revista Boliviana de Derecha (Bolivian Law Journal)  explains that the benefits for the child will be greater. This is because many factors relating to the child are regulated. Indeed, the intention is to facilitate an optimal relationship between both parents. Therefore, by mutual agreement, the child’s well-being is ensured.

Some divorces take months to complete. For a child, this is a huge amount of time. Moreover, the whole process can muddy the waters, creating unbreathable climates of tension. And, sadly, those who suffer the most are those who are blameless, the children. 

The parenting coordinator aims to ensure the well-being of the children while mediating between the parents so that they can agree on the terms of the separation or divorce. As such, their goal is to lessen the explosiveness of the conflict.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.