Parenting Coordinator Does Have Some Authority to Make Decisions
Video Transcribed: What is the difference between a guardian ad litem and a parenting coordinator? My name is Brian L. Jackson, I’m a Fathers’ rights attorney in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and today we’re going to talk about some of the differences between a guardian ad litem and a parenting coordinator.
Start with the guardian ad litem. The purpose of a guardian ad litem is they are, legally speaking, an arm of the court in a way. Their role in custody litigation, essentially, is that they’re there to look out for the best interests of the children.
And the way that they do this is they’re charged with investigating the facts of the case and that includes interviewing the parents, interviewing any relevant witnesses, depending on the age of the child they may also interview the child, and obtain any records and other evidence that would help them make recommendations to the court as to what they feel is in the best interest of the child.
Now anything that the guardian ad litem recommends is not binding upon the family court but the family court can certainly consider it as evidence and it can be strongly persuasive.
A parenting coordinator, their primary role is like a referee. They are appointed in what are called high conflict cases. In other words, if you have two parents that are having a hard time getting along, that need help co-parenting kids, a parenting coordinator can help with this.
Their job is basically charged with looking after the best interests of the children, but rather than being an investigator they’re there to try to help reach compromise and to help parents resolve issues, rather than having to constantly litigate. The parenting coordinator does have some authority to make decisions.
In other words, if the parents are discussing how Christmas visitation is going to go, and the parents are just not coming to a consensus, what the parenting coordinator can do is say, “Okay, Mom what do you want? And Dad what do you want?” And then make a decision as to what they feel is the most workable solution to the problem, that would serve the interests of the children, and then they can recommend that to the court.
Now depending on the terms of their appointment, their recommendations can have the force of a court order, until the court reviews those recommendations if the court reviews those recommendations, and decides to overturn them or, alternatively, the court can adopt them. But, as I say, their role is a little different than the guardian ad litem because they’re there to help the parents learn to work together as a business unit, I guess is one way to put it.
Now if you find yourself in a situation where you’re dealing with a specific family law situation, and you need advice on how to handle your specific circumstances, you should go to dads.law and one of our attorneys would be happy to consult with you and give you advice as to handle your specific situation. My name is Brian L. Jackson, I am a fathers’ rights attorney, and we’ve been talking about the difference between a guardian ad litem and a parenting coordinator.