Parental Coordination

I recently attended a seminar in which one of the topics was the concept of Parent Coordination. The idea behind this is two-fold. For parents who are already divorced or parents who are in the process of divorcing, parent coordination is the phrase used to describe the sharing of information and the coordination it takes to work together to co-parent children.

I have to believe that one of the most common complaints for many non-custodial parents is that they are not receiving the information they are entitled to regarding their children. Sports schedules, grade cards, school activities and other events are not being communicated adequately between the parents. This can be oversight, or in some cases a purposeful act designed to deprive a parent of the information. Either way, many parents need a new way to communicate with one another vital information that is convenient, effective and efficient. I have often suggested email to my clients as a great way to communicate that also generates a paper record of the conversation. It seems that if one is aware that anything they say can be printed out and referenced later, the conversation tends to stay more focused and less combative.

Also, I have advised my clients to contact the school, the teachers, the coaches and other important people involved in their child’s life.Oftentimes if these people are aware that you want to be an active parent, they will include you on emails, phone lists and newsletters so that you can keep up with the events and plans for the organization.

In Missouri, there are legal remedies if you are not getting the information you need to effectively co-parent your children.However, these remedies are difficult and enforcement is not always nearly as forceful as we might hope.If you and your ex-spouse can achieve a way to communicate information in a timely manner, this can save you time, money and frustration.

The second part of the concept of Parent Coordination includes the coordination that becomes necessary to effectively co-parent. Coordination includes the concepts of sharing information that requires additional discussion and ultimately an agreement or consensus. For instance, the pediatrician that has treated your child is retiring and a new one must be chosen. How is this handled post-divorce? Both parents are entitled to some input on decisions such as these, and should be able to form consensus after sharing information. If they cannot, counselors and lawyers are increasingly taking on the role of Parent Coordinator. That is, a third party can help the parents form consensus if necessary on issues such as the one described above. While this might not be preferable, perhaps it is a tool that parents can utilize to be able to effectively share information and deal with conflicts that arise.

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