If you have on going conflicts with your ex, you might consider shopping for a Parenting Consultant or Parent Coordinator now, rather than later. Maybe you won’t need one, when all is said and done, but if you are going to need one, it is better to research some that you want to have on a short list for the future as soon as possible. If you wait until your family is in crisis mode, you may have to make a rushed decision without knowing very much about this person that is going to have a huge impact in your life and the life of your children.
I recommend that couples who struggle with co parenting issues contact parenting consultants/coordinators as early as possible. This is a proactive approach rather than reactive and it gives you time to find a PC that you feel comfortable with. If you can do your research during a time of relative calm, you will have ample time to make calls and set up appointments with PCs who are willing to meet face to face with you and ask them some important questions, as well as, get a feel for who they are personality wise. Do they come across calm and empathetic or do they strike you as someone who is controlling or power hungry? You may want to know if they are knowledgeable about issues that are unique to your family. If your child has a chronic illness, do they understand it? If you request they meet with you and your ex in separate rooms, are they willing to do that? Can you see their contract and fee agreement and are they willing to act as a PC even if you’d like to make changes to the contract where you prefer not to give them authority over some areas of your child’s care? How long do they stay on the case? Do they serve for a period of time and then allow you to request them for another term if you choose to, or do they leave that open ended? You should have some period of time where you can decide if they can be reappointed again or not.
Just because you have found a PC that you might like, it doesn’t mean that you will have to use them. It may turn out that you cannot use them, maybe your ex won’t agree with your choice, but it is good to come into a negotiation with an ex armed with a few names of those you have interviewed. I would recommend having a list of five names. Your ex may also present five names and then you will start a narrowing down process with the attorneys, but if you have done your homework, you may already know those names on the ex’s list from having looked at them during your search for the best and know which ones you want to cross from his/her list. It may be that when the time comes to choose one, they are too busy to take the case, that just goes with the territory, but you may be pleasantly surprised by who ends up on your ex’s list, too.
The role of a PC has a great deal of authority. You want to make sure that are giving this important decision making capability to someone who will not abuse that power. If you don’t wait until you are desperately in need of a parenting consultant/coordinator, you will end up with a little bit more control over the process and not be stuck with someone who is not a good fit for your family.