Parents who have experienced a high-conflict divorce often wish the other parent would disappear, so they would not have to co-parent with that person. Instead, these same parents must learn to co-parent their children, often for many years. This dynamic also holds for never-married parents who share children but struggle to co-parent and share custody. The children wish the conflict would disappear once their parents are living apart, but the same family dynamics that led to the divorce are in place after the divorce. In such a setting, the children suffer as the parents engage in ongoing custody litigation, filing contempt action after contempt action against each other. The courts have become overwhelmed trying to handle these high-conflict situations, and judges are not specifically trained to address complex family dynamics. Judges have very little time to deal with high-conflict families; and yet, it takes time to undo years of bad communication and unhealthy family dynamics. Now, the courts can appoint a Parenting Coordinator (“PC”), who has received specialized training to work with high-conflict families, to help the families co-parent better.
The PC works with the family to lower the tension and conflict for everyone and teaches the parents to communicate more effectively. The PC can also help parents that are struggling to follow their custody order to do so peacefully. The Parenting Coordinator assists the parents in a respectful manner to set goals and helps the parents meet those goals over time. The PC also educates the parents about how their behavior is negatively affecting the children, so the parents can implement solutions. This benefits the parents, but it really benefits the children.
Heidi Risser has been a Certified Parenting Coordinator since 2013. She has worked with families for years assisting them in creating arrangements that are specific to their needs. Her goal is to decrease conflict and increase healthy communication between the parents, while also protecting the well-being of a family’s children. If you wish to reach out to Heidi directly, go to the Contact page.