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Florida mother alleges bias of parenting coordinator

When parents with children go through the divorce process, attorneys for both parties may encourage them to develop a parenting plan together. The goal is to avoid constant bickering about child custody and visitation. Sometimes it works; other times, not so much.

A Florida couple is currently embroiled in a child custody and visitation struggle. The mother alleges that her visitation time has been limited by a parenting coordinator appointed by the court. The mother claims that the coordinator is not acting in the neutral third party role assigned to her, but instead has been taking sides, making false reports to the court about the mother’s behavior, and charging the mother for a counseling visit every time the mother wants to see her 10-year-old daughter.

The mother alleges that whenever she wants to see her daughter, she has to go through the coordinator and pay $125 for an office visit. In addition, the mother alleges that the coordinator has written disparaging emails and reports to the court about the mother and has taken the father's side.

The coordinator asked the court to withdraw from the case because she has not been paid for her services. She denies being biased and implies her email account may have been hacked. The manager of the family court in charge of court-appointed personnel suggested the aggrieved mother file a complaint so the matters can be properly investigated.

The purpose of the third party involvement is to resolve visitation issues; in this case, it seems to have only made the situation worse. A family law attorney can work with a court, parents and a parenting coordinator to help resolve issues like this one. 

Source: Herald-Tribune, “A third party complicates custody dispute,” Lee Williams, Dec. 14, 2013

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