Appointing a Parenting Coordinator

The Huffington Post recently featured an entry by Pauline Gaines, a self-described "world-class gnarly divorce survivor." Ms. Gaines' post reflects her frustration about the use of parenting coordinators:

In the state where I live . . . a judge cannot enforce the use of a parenting coordinator. That means if one party wants to be collaborative, and the other party doesn't want to cede control to anyone, there will be no PC. The other problem with this statement is the presumption that a Parenting Coordinator will make things better. There are effective Parenting Coordinators and there are burned-out Parenting Coordinators, who can make a bad situation even worse.

Fortunately, Texas does permit a court to appoint a parenting coordinator. The court must find that the case is high-conflict or other good cause for the appointment.[1] Upon appointment, the parenting coordinator may aid the parties in:

(1) identifying disputed issues;

(2) reducing misunderstandings;

(3) clarifying priorities;

(4) exploring possibilities for problem solving;

(5) developing methods of collaboration in parenting;

(6) understanding parenting plans and reaching agreements about parenting issues to be included in a parenting plan;

(7) complying with the court's order regarding conservatorship or possession of and access to the child;

(8) implementing parenting plans;

(9) obtaining training regarding problem solving, conflict management, and parenting skills; and

(10) settling disputes regarding parenting issues and reaching a proposed joint resolution or statement of intent regarding those disputes.[2]

Moreover, parenting coordinators must comply with the Texas Supreme Court's Ethical Guidelines for Mediators which assist in enforcing professionalism.

[1] Tex. Fam. Code § 153.605(b)(1)
[2] Tex. Fam. Code § 153.606(a)