New Jersey has formally adopted a practice that has been used in family court for some years: the appointment of parenting coordinators to help divorced or separating couples adhere to their parenting responsibilities and resolve disputes. The rule establishing the program took effect September 1, 2023, and the courts’ administrative office has issued a directive to aid with the program’s implementation.
The parenting coordinator’s job is to make co-parenting easier and less stressful for the entire family. The courts are clogged with cases in which divorced or separated parents have child custody, visitation or support disputes. These parents are sometimes openly hostile toward each other and arguments can often break out, causing emotional harm to the children.
Under the newly adopted program, the parenting coordinator is responsible for helping the parties implement their court-ordered parenting plan. The plan details each child’s living arrangements, visitation and parental legal authority. An effective coordinator can carry out the following functions:
A coordinator can be chosen either by judicial appointment or by parental consent. The court can select an appointee from a state roster of qualified coordinators. Most individuals on the roster are experienced attorneys, mediators or mental health professionals who receive state-sponsored training. The newly issued administrative directive specifies the type and extent of training required. The parents can also choose a coordinator, who can be a close friend or family member that both parents trust.
Kisha M. Hebbon, LLC in Somerset is a full-service family law firm with experience representing people in co-parenting matters across north-central New Jersey. Please contact us online or call 732-873-6464 for a free initial consultation.