A parenting coordinator/decision-maker assists parties in implementing their parenting plan, practicing appropriate communication, improving parenting skills, minimizing conflict, and can make decisions about parenting issues that are not addressed in the parenting plan without court involvement.
This is a different process from mediation and generally involves communication and decisions that are made outside of the courtroom but does not require all parties to be sitting down in one place. Jennifer will meet with each party individually or discuss issues over the phone as they come up and attempt to resolve them as quickly as possible without having to wait months for a court resolution and without incurring attorney fees on both sides.
A parenting coordinator attempts to resolve issues by agreement and offers resources or ideas on how to improve communication or lessen conflict, pursuant to Colorado Revised Statutes §14-10-128.1. The decision-maker aspect of the role allows the same individual to also make a decision when an agreement cannot be reached between the parties, pursuant to Colorado Revised Statutes §14-10-128.3.
These issues are often about minor decisions rather than major issues like changing parenting time or decision making. For example, there are often disputes surrounding parenting time exchanges, times for holiday parenting time, vacation and travel, and communication issues. This can be a cost-effective way of handling disputes in a high conflict situation.
Jennifer acts as a child legal representative for the child(ren) of parents who do not qualify for a state paid child legal representative and who have a conflict involving allocation of parental responsibilities. A child legal representative acts as an attorney in court and is a party to the case, which is a different role than a child and family investigator. Pursuant to Colorado Revised Statutes §14-10-116, a child legal representative takes into consideration the child’s wishes but does not have to advocate for that position if it is not in the child’s best interests.
Colorado Revised Statutes §19-1-111 allows the Court to appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child’s best interests in various cases, and to advocate for the resources and services that might be helpful for the individual child.