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« Shively v. Shively, Division of Marital Property, Post Separation Team Effort | Main | Baird v. Baird, Re-Issuance of Domestic Violence Orders »

September 20, 2007


Well, Liz, that's about the best "know-nothing" hatchet job I've ever seen. I appreciate the work that went into it, and affirm that you might even have some decent points, but you compound jumping to the wrong, and unfounded, conclusions by neglecting to cover how any other system is any better. Maybe you could try a debate or something, where you put "for and against" things in your post, rather than scurrilous cherry-picking, and better establish your point.

That said, I cannot find a single point listed above that is substantiated through my experience with parent coordinators (what does "rule by man, not law" mean?), and it might just be that we mean two different things by the term. So here are some positives:

* They are tantamount to a reason to stop throwing so much money at lawyers and courts, where a referee can resolve the issue quickly and cheaply.

* They provide some advocacy for the children, rather than for the parents.

* They are often mental health professionals who know little about the legal process but know a lot about mental health and what kids need to grow up to be well-adjusted.

* They take some crucial decision-making off a busy judge who only knows what the attorneys drag in front of him or her and provides someone who is able to look past the posturing and take the time to do what is best for the kids.

* They greatly reduce the stress level in a shattered marriage by providing a non-litigious channel of communication for more minor issues.

* Most mental-health professionals do not even know about this concept yet, and those who choose to go into it have to undergo some certification process first.

There are people in every profession who stink at what they're trying to do. Coordinators and lawyers alike have this problem. You cannot judge an entire profession by your exposure to a couple of bad apples. Also, this concept is still very new in a number of places, and the profession has not been sufficiently developed to provide for consistent standards being applied in every place. There can be bad coordinators who really mess things up, just as bad ministers, counselors, attorneys, judges, and doctors do. So, by and large, who handles stressful life-situations better, a mental health professional, or an attorney?

Parenting coordinators are a bad idea. Among many other problems:

-- They are tantamount to a denial or hindrance of access to court

-- Rule by man, not law

-- Inappropriate micromanagement of families' daily lives (the disagreements could be better settles by giving one of the parents decision-making authority)

-- These third parties actually have no expertise to lend to the decision-making, and are far less knowledgeable of the facts and the pragmatics of families' daily lives

-- They are an unnecessary expense, and when the parties do not have financial parity, the expense of contacting the PC can be used as a threat to get concessions from the disagreeing party

-- They are mostly mental health professionals who neither understand nor appreciate due process

-- Rather than force parties to work our petty squabbles, they provide a forum to run to, and thus, do not facilitate true agreement or reduce conflict

-- It's a make-work idea for mental health professionals

You can find a more in-depth discussion at http://www.thelizlibrary.org/liz/custody-evaluator-questions.html

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