When Will a Court Appoint a Parenting Coordinator in an Illinois Custody Case?
By the time a couple has decided to get a divorce, the acrimony between them is often high. It is not uncommon for the contention between the two spouses to be so thick that they are even unable to have a civil conversation with each other. This can make negotiating divorce issues difficult. If the couple has children, this tension between them can make co-parenting impossible. In these situations, the court may decide to appoint a parenting coordinator.
When a divorcing couple does have children, a major part of the divorce settlement is the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time (previously referred to as child custody and visitation). In many divorces, the couple is able to civilly work through and come up with an agreeable parenting plan, usually with the help of their divorce attorneys. But if they cannot get to this point, the court will intervene.
If the couple has significant disagreements about parenting time, the court will order the parents to participate in mediation. The mediator must be on a court-approved list and meet certain requirements, including having either a law degree or an advanced degree in family relationships. The mediator must also have a minimum of two years’ experience in their profession.
If the mediation can help the couple reach an agreement on a parenting plan, that plan will be drafted into a formal parenting time agreement for the court.
Guardian Ad Litem
If the couple is unable to reach an agreement even with the assistance of a mediator, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem. This person is an attorney who is solely focused on what is in the best interests of the child. The guardian ad litem will meet with both parents and the child. In some cases, the guardian ad litem may also meet with extended family members, family friends, the child’s teachers, therapist, and any other appropriate parties.
Once done with interviews, the guardian ad litem will then present the court with a report of their findings, as well as a recommendation as to how the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time should be divided.
In extreme cases, after the guardian ad litem has made their recommendations, the court may appoint a parenting coordinator. One of the main functions of a parenting coordinator is to help the parents make decisions without the need for multiple court hearings.
Some of the ways the parenting coordinator helps parents achieve this is by the following:
- Help the couple mediate disputes regarding parenting issues
- Stays up to date regarding any court orders regarding the case and reports to the court if either or both parents are not complying with the orders
- Recommends to the court the need for any necessary outside resources, including therapy, parenting class, and random drug testing
- Communicates with both parents to ensure the lines of communication between the parents stay open
- Develops conflict-reducing strategies for the couple in order to reduce unnecessary stress for the children
- Provides the couple with the tools and methods to develop healthy communication skills
Call a Kane County Family Lawyer for Help
If you are going through a difficult divorce and custody case, make sure you have a skilled St. Charles, IL parenting time attorney advocating for you. Contact Shaw Sanders, P.C. at 630-584-5550 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.