Family court judges have the power to appoint a variety of professionals to help parents understand the issues and resolve disagreements in cases involving children. Parenting time coordinators are used in many counties to help make sure children can get established with a parenting time routine as quickly as possible.
Role of Parenting Time Coordinator
When a couple cannot come to an agreement about parenting time, or when mediation has failed, judges will turn to parenting time coordinators. The coordinator may meet with both parents and try to either get them to work together or to make parenting time recommendations to the judge. Often, judges will issue temporary orders based on the recommendations of the parenting time coordinators.
Difference Between Parenting Time Coordinator and Parenting Time Evaluator
In most counties in Illinois, parenting time coordinators are required to have the same qualifications as family court mediators. Coordinators are typically not child development experts or trained and licensed psychologists. A parenting time evaluator, sometimes called a custody evaluator, is almost always an experienced and licensed counselor.
Evaluators meet with both parents and the children and make professional observations and recommendations to the court about what type of living and parenting time arrangements are in the best interests of the children.
Coordinators are generally only tasked with getting some kind of temporary agreement underway with the goal of providing a routine and stability to the children.
When Things Go Wrong
In one case, a parenting time coordinator made a decision that kept a mother from having parenting time with her children for over a year. The coordinator wanted the mother to take an invasive psychological examination, but the mother refused. The coordinator found her to be an unfit parent and denied her any parenting time.
While the decision was later reversed, it took more than a year for the mother to get parenting time with her children back.
Understanding Your Rights
When dealing with parenting time coordinators it is important to understand how powerful their recommendations can be and what your rights are as a parent. You need a strong advocate who knows the law and the personalities involved in any case involving children.
If you have questions about parenting time or parental responsibilities, you need to speak with a knowledgeable DuPage County divorce lawyer. Call Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. today at 630-665-7676 to schedule a consultation. Make sure you understand your parental rights.