Prepping Clients for Parenting Coordinators
I sometimes get asked if it is really necessary to prepare clients for meetings with their parenting coordinators. The answer is a resounding "yes" for a couple of different reasons. First, you should let your clients know what to expect. Will the parenting coordinator have a decision immediately or will it take months? Of course that answer depends on the issue and the parenting coordinator. Nevertheless, you can educate your client about the process. Second, you want your client to make it really easy for the parenting coordinator to make recommendations that are favorable to your client. That is more likely to happen if your client is properly prepared for their meeting with the parenting coordinator.
Clients should be goal oriented when meeting with their parenting coordinator. For example, if the parent wants to take the children out of town for a family event during the other parent's parenting time, the parent needs to focus on that issue only. The parent needs to give good reasons as to why they believe their request is in the best interest of the children. The parent should also be prepared to show the parenting coordinator all efforts made to work with the other parent. For instance, did the parent who wants to take the child out of town offer any make-up time? It is important that the parent shows they have made a good faith effort to work with the other parent.
Also, make sure your client does not spend time talking about things that are irrelevant, such as general complaints about the other parent or their ex's new significant other, unless those are the subjects at issue. This is a time for your client to really focus on the issue they wish to have resolved. Again, they need to become goal oriented to achieve the best result.
If you do not have time to prepare your clients, make sure you hire someone who does.