Parenting Coordination and Decision-Making  - Colorado CFI


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At any time after the entry of a court order concerning parental responsibilities in divorce proceedings, the court may appoint a parenting coordinator (PC) to assist in the resolution of disputes between the parties concerning parental responsibilities. The parenting coordinator’s role is to help with the implementation of a court-ordered parenting plan. This process often involves the resolution of disputes over parenting time issues or specific disputed major parenting decisions

Parenting coordinator’s responsibilities include assisting the parties in creating an agreed-upon parenting plan, drafting guidelines for appropriate communication, providing resources for improving parenting skills, identifying any sources and causes of conflict, and developing strategies to minimize family conflict.

In addition to appointing a parenting coordinator, the court may also appoint a qualified domestic relations decision-maker (DM). The prevailing difference between an appointed parenting coordinator and decision-maker is that the decision-maker has the authority to make binding determinations to implement or clarify the provisions of a pre-existing court order regarding parenting responsibilities. The appointed decision-maker is often the same person as the parenting coordinator, but with more authority or power over the process of coordination.


The nature and scope of the parenting coordination and decision-making process largely depends on the circumstances of the parenting dispute. How many children are involved in the divorce? How far along are parties in the resolution process? Do parties struggle with communication or are there just a few specific issues? What has the court ordered regarding the dispute?

COLORADO CFI recognizes three general stages of coordination and decision-making that work in sync with one another to help find lasting resolutions.


1) INTAKE & IDENTIFYING ISSUES | Parties will get acclimated to the PC/DM process, complete intake forms and biographical paperwork, and identify their issues and needs in the presence of the PC/DM. The PC/DM will facilitate conversations to highlight important feelings or thoughts and then organize these ideas into delineated goals for parenting. This phase includes several collaborative conversations involving each party and the PC/DM.

2) PROBLEM-SOLVING | Parties will begin an in-depth process of developing insight, awareness, and action around identified issues. The PC/DM will guide parties by using a number of techniques, which may include the facilitation of co-parenting conversations, the provision of resources for improving parenting skills, teaching communication skills, or offering concrete information around topics like child development or conflict management and resolution. Julia will often pull from her experience as a mental healthcare provider and early childhood education teacher, knowledge of child development and counseling theory and techniques, and training in mediation and child and family investigation to inform her practice as a PC/DM. Problem solving will remain practical and centered on the best interest of the child or children involved, which often means that it will also be centered on the  best interest of the family system as a whole. . 


3) RESOLUTION | The parties will be able to clearly identify solutions to their disputes, move forward in successful co-parenting in the best interest of their children, and effectively collaborate on any changes to their parenting schedule moving forward. The PC/DM helps articulate and document solutions and file updates or decisions with the court, if deemed necessary.