THE ADVOCATE 349
VOL. 79 PART 3 MAY 2021
By David A. Paul, Q.C.
Research confirms our observations as lawyers that separating
couples report more conflict, more interaction avoidance and
less constructive communications than non-distressed couples.
1 The typical family law litigant experiences wide-ranging
emotions, including anger, fear, anxiety, disappointment, despair, embarrassment,
grief, stress and, perhaps most of all, uncertainty. Disputes
involving children can create unbearable family burdens that cloud a parent’s
perspective, interfere with their abilities to communicate and hinder
their prospects for resolving disputes in a rational and collaborative fashion.
For many of these individuals, every conversation has the potential for an
argument, if not a litigation opportunity.
While separating spouses can put their disputes to a judge, this often ends
up being a stressful, expensive and unproductive way to address ongoing
family decisions in the best interests of children. A viable, effective and
cost-saving alternative for many of these individuals is parenting coordination.
Parenting coordination is a child-focused dispute resolution process
for separated families that provides parents with a forum to speak and offer
their insight. Over time, the process can help parents disengage from constant
conflict and re-establish healthy communication and decision-making
practices, thereby allowing them to resume constructive co-parenting on
THE PARENTING COORDINATOR
As a neutral third party, the parenting coordinator does not advocate on
behalf of or represent either parent but instead assists both parents in
resolving conflict and making decisions in the best interests of their children.
The parenting coordinator’s specialized training allows them to help
parents focus on developing the parenting and communication skills necessary
to move their relationship in a productive direction. By mediating disputes
and, when necessary, by making decisions (directions) to resolve the
conflict, the parenting coordinator can help separating couples manage the
new reality of their co-parenting situation.