Divorcing During a Pandemic: Parent Coordination


If you are looking to divorce during the pandemic, we encourage you to explore alternative dispute resolutions like Parent Coordination. The Maryland court system still remains in Phase II of the Maryland Judiciary’s reopening plan. The court system is scheduled to return to Phase IV operations on March 15, 2021, and Phase IV operations on April 26, 2021. Currently, no in-person multi-day trials are being held, and most jurisdictions are not allowing remote multi-day trials. Most contested divorces require more than one day in trial, so they cannot move forward at this time. Even when the courts return to Phases IV and V, there will be a tremendous backlog of contested family law cases. Any matters not yet set for trial will likely be scheduled near the end of 2021, if not in 2022. 

This blog is the last in a series of posts on how to divorce during a pandemic when you cannot get into court. In previous blogs, we discussed the benefits of Marital Settlement Agreements, mediation, and arbitration. Today we will focus on the use and benefits of Parent Coordination. Parent Coordination is limited to issues involving children, and does not include matters of child support, alimony, or property division. 


Parent Coordination  

Parent Coordination is when parents hire a Certified Parent Coordinator to assist with co-parenting. Parent Coordinators help parents create a custody schedule if there is not one yet in place, manage their parenting plan and custody schedule if there is an existing Order, improve communication, and assist in making shared decisions about their children. 

Certified Parent Coordinators are required to complete specialized training and continuing education to help parents resolve issues regarding their children. In a Parent Coordination session, the Parent Coordinator will lead a discussion about specified disagreements and assist the parents in coming to shared decisions. 

Parent Coordinators cannot override court orders. However, if both parents cannot come to a shared decision, the Parent Coordinator can decide on their behalf. 

Parent Coordination sessions can be used to discuss anything from where a child should go to school, to planning vacations, and deciding on COVID-19 safety protocols. The latter of which has become increasingly important during this pandemic. Parent Coordinators are there to help you through difficult conversations and important decisions for the benefit of your children.  

The services that a Parent Coordinator are permitted to provide are governed by the Maryland Rules. However, the parties may agree to expand the scope of the Parent Coordinator’s role and decision-making ability beyond the authority granted in the Maryland Rules.


When to Use Parent Coordination

Divorce often brings up a lot of disagreements, especially when it comes to sharing custody of the children. For some parents, they find that they need outside, professional help to come to resolutions. Parent Coordination was created in the best interest of children involved with these high-conflict divorces.

Parents can hire a Parent Coordinator whether they are married, separated, or divorced. If you and your spouse have a difficult time making shared decisions for your children, Parent Coordination can be an extremely effective solution. Parent Coordinators are especially helpful when it comes to day-to-day decision-making and are a great option for high-conflict couples.


Benefits of Parent Coordination

Here are just 10 of the benefits of hiring a Parent Coordinator:

  1. Reach decisions faster, rather than engaging in protracted litigation and waiting for a Judge to make a decision. 
  2. Reduce the stress on your children by setting aside disagreements for designated Parent Coordination sessions.
  3. Resolve day-to-day disagreements outside of the courtroom.
  4. Refocus your attention on your children and what is best for them.
  5. Save time and money by not involving attorneys or going to court.
  6. Have an unbiased third-party lead the discussions and guide you through the resolution process.
  7. Have an unbiased third-party make decisions for you if you cannot agree.
  8. Learn to communicate and come to resolutions better on your own.
  9. Set aside a designated hour of your time to resolve disagreements promptly.
  10. Gain more control of your co-parenting situation with the help of a certified professional.


Limitations of Parent Coordination

Parent Coordination is not a legal way to finalize a divorce. Parent Coordinators are also not legally authorized to override court orders. Parent Coordination is also not private. Parent Coordinators are often called upon as witnesses in divorce trials to provide insight into the family—which is often beneficial to the outcome of the case. 

Parent Coordination can be used at any time, whether you are still together with your spouse, currently going through a divorce, or already divorced. However, if you are looking to divorce your spouse, we encourage you to read more about Marital Settlement Agreements, mediation, and arbitration. All of which can help you divorce during the pandemic.

If you have questions about Parent Coordination, please contact Turnbull, Nicholson & Sanders, P.A. at (410) 339-4100 or Our team of family law attorneys is here to help guide you.


Related Posts:
Divorcing During the Pandemic: When You Can’t Get Into Court
Divorcing During the Pandemic: What You Need to Know about Marital Settlement Agreements 

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