Many divorce cases involve minor children with parents who struggle to get along. The tension between parents may leave them unable to make joint decisions for the best interests of the children. Throughout the divorce process, parents have the opportunity to achieve child custody, child visitation, and parenting plans that are workable for them and their children.
In New Jersey, a divorcing couple with a child custody dispute must attend a court-mandated mediation session. A successful outcome is ultimately dependent upon the parents’ willingness to work together. The mediation session is helpful to many parents because each can express his/her unique viewpoints to a neutral third party. The terms only become fully enforceable upon approval of each party, the parties’ attorneys, and the court. An agreeable resolution keeps the family relationship intact during a divorce, which is important and beneficial to everyone involved.
Agreeing and conforming to the terms of an agreement are two different things. Violations happen, and sometimes regularly. Some parties simply cannot and will not adhere. In specific cases where the parties have daily problems working out their differences, a court may appoint a parenting coordinator, a mental health or legal professional with training in mediation, to facilitate the resolution of everyday parenting issues that tend to recur during or after the divorce.
The parties usually share the fee 50/50. Recommendations can be limited to childcare arrangements, drop-off dates and times, holiday visitation, scheduling of telephone communication between parent and child, and various other parenting issues which should not require court intervention.
A parenting coordinator’s appointment does not preclude independent representation of counsel. An attorney represents and advocates for his/her client’s interests throughout the divorce proceedings and if needed post-judgment. Parents working alongside a parenting coordinator are encouraged to seek continued legal advice on recommendations and actions taken.
Tanya N. Helfand, Esq. concentrates in Family Law, she is a Certified Matrimonial Attorney and mediator. The firm welcomes your questions and inquiries at [email protected] Everything is confidential. This article is not legal advice. Please consult an attorney.