Tulsa Attorney BlogHow to Pick an Oklahoma Parenting Coordinator for Your Custody Case

There Are Two Types of People That Can Be Appointed as Parenting Coordinators

Video Transcribed: How do you pick the right parenting coordinator for your case in Oklahoma? I’m Tulsa attorney James Wirth, and we’re about to talk about picking a parenting coordinator.

So as I advised in a prior video, there are essentially two types of people that can be appointed as parenting coordinators, an attorney with experience in family law, and a mental health professional that either through education and mediation training, or through licensing, is eligible to be a parenting coordinator.

So that’s the first decision, is based on the facts of your case and what issues you think there be, do you want an attorney or do you want a mental health professional? And it’s going to depend on the issues. I find most of the time, my recommendation for my clients is to get an attorney.

And a lot of that comes down to circumstances where I’ve had a parenting coordinator acting outside of the scope of what they’re able to do, which is a more unfortunate side effects in a case involving a mental health professional than a licensed attorney in family law.

But in one particular case I was representing a client, and the parenting coordinator as a mental health professional had made a recommendation for custody of the kid to go to the other party. And there were a couple of problems with that.

One, the parenting coordinator act does not grant the parenting coordinator the authority to make determinations regarding custody itself. It’s only for temporary issues and small things, generally speaking.

So they were going beyond their scope of what they’re able to do at that point. But the other big thing is that included in the order, not only the opposing party’s child, but also my client’s other two kids that weren’t his.

So not only were those kids not under the jurisdiction of the court that granted the appointment, but the court didn’t have the authority to make that determination. So the parenting coordinator certainly didn’t have, they make the authority to make that determination.

So that caused a lot of hassle and it caused actually a little bit of back and forth with the kids being pushed back and forth pursuant to that order. All because the parenting coordinator did not have an understanding of the limitations.

So you want to keep that in mind, and because of that, I’ve had better luck with attorney parenting coordinators, but it depends on the specific parenting coordinator and on your specific case. The other thing that I look for in a parenting coordinator is one that is quick and decisive, because that’s the main thing that you want with the parenting coordinator.

Because these issues are relatively small. Sometimes it’s better to get a quick decision than it is the perfect decision. And that’s what you’re looking for. A quick, good decision you can rely on. And a parenting coordinator that is quick on those as good.

So I found that ex judges sometimes make great parenting coordinators because they’re used to getting the facts together and making decisions relatively quickly. So that can be a good thing. But again, it’s depending on the individual.

Also I’ve noticed some parenting coordinators favor certain issues. If you’ve got an attorney with some experience in the county and in the area, they probably have some familiarity with the parenting coordinators and how they take certain things. I found some parenting coordinators to be maybe more father friendly and other ones to be more mother friendly.

And I think that factors in. And I’ve found some that act a certain way related to younger kids versus older kids. If you know what the history of the various parenting coordinators and how they handle certain issues, then you can have an idea on what they may do in your case.

And that can provide an advantage to you, or in my case to my client. So those are the things that I factor in in determining who we should recommend be appointed as a parenting coordinator.

The last thing is how they handle communications. So if the parenting coordinator requires you to have a meeting every time an issue comes up, then that might be undermining the benefit of a parenting coordinator to some degree.

My favorite and coordinators, they start you off with an initial meeting where you meet with the parenting coordinator, learn a little bit about each side, go over the file. And then after that, once you have the background information, the new issue comes up, handled by email.

You email your concern that you have, the issue that’s come up, they email the other side to respond, other side responds to the parenting coordinator.

Then once they have the information for both sides, they use those emails to make a determination real quick, and then you’ve got a recommendation or a decision vision that can become essentially an order at that point.

And if neither party objects to the recommendations, those can also become orders of the court.

So in order to get the best benefits of having a parenting coordinator, you want somebody who knows the law, knows the issues, they can make quick decisions and that handles communications and through email or another way that’s quick.

So those are my recommendations for determining and picking a parenting coordinator. If you’re in that situation and have some questions about what would be best for your specific circumstances, then you’re going to want to talk to an attorney about those specifics. If want to talk to somebody in my office, you can go to makelaweasy.com.

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