Parent Coordinator – Florida
LYNN ROMANO, M.A. P.O. Box 1924 Court Appointed – Private Practice Oldsmar, FL 34677 Family Mediator & County Mediator Romano@TampaBay.rr.com
Parent Coordinator & Parenting Plan Facilitator Telephone: 727.542.5498 www.DivorceTransitionTampaBay.com
WELCOME TO PARENT COORDINATION About Parent Coordination Parent Coordination is an Alternative Dispute Resolution process designed to help parents support and parent their children before, during or after separation, divorce or non-marital relationship. It is a process through which parents work together to identify key issues that directly or indirectly impact their children and with the help of a Parent Coordinator, work together to identify the best way to develop a positive parenting plan and create a positive environment for the children.
Parent Coordination does not replace or compete with the attorney’s role, and a Parent Coordinator does not provide legal, financial or accounting advice. Parent Coordination is never a substitute for mental health counseling or therapy. The Goals of Parent Coordination: The goals of meeting with a Parent Coordinator may include but are not limited to: Active participation of both parents to develop a parenting plan and resolve parenting disputes Stimulate effective, positive communication and conflict resolution skills Create resolutions that can meet the responsibilities and needs of each parent and their children Coach parents to successfully Co-Parent (separately, together and parallel) now and for the future
An effective Parent Coordinator observes, evaluates, coaches, and teaches while helping the parents to identify and resolve conflict through negotiation and positive communication. The Parent Coordinator helps parents understand their changing roles, new responsibilities and various boundaries. Parents learn to view this process not as a war (that needs to be won) but rather as a way to learn a problem solving process that will ensure the best environment for their children.
Policies & Procedures I have been on the 6th Judicial Circuit’s approved list of Parent Coordinators since 2003 and am a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator since 1999. When working with parents my main goal is to help resolve issues, determine a process to address future issues, develop a parenting plan and do so as quickly as possible. I do not consider the process a long term endeavor but rather an efficient, effective process that works to quickly meet the needs of family members. The process begins with an “Order of Referral to Parent Coordinator” from the Court and must follow the directives in the Court Order. Although I work with parents on a case by case basis and tailor the process to meet specific family needs,
I have found the following three-phase process to be most effective: Initial Phase: Once I receive the Court “Order of Referral” I speak (via phone) with both parents and attorneys to understand the background, issues, goals and to gather information. I also discuss the process, roles, responsibilities, costs and answer any questions or concerns. It’s a “get to know you and me” conversation that builds a solid foundation for working together. I send parents a questionnaire specifically designed for their case, a Co-Parenting Handout, a generic basic parenting plan and a contract which confirms our working relationship.
Middle Phase: Usually we meet for one full day to review the questionnaire, the Co-Parenting Guidelines Handout, to review generic parenting plans, and to develop the parents’ custom parenting agreement. After the meeting we continue to work via phone and email to resolve final issues. In some cases we meet again to work through issues. Final Phase: This is where we work out the final details and either write and sign a full or partial parenting agreement or decide to impasse. If an agreement is reached, parents and I will write the agreement and parents/attorneys will sign it.
The Parent Coordinator’s role is only that of a scrivener and shall not be held liable for the contents or terms of the final written agreement. If parents reach an impasse we’ll discuss my final report which identifies the unresolved issues, the road blocks to resolving the issues, my concerns, and recommendations. If requested, this phase may include overseeing implementation of the agreement or case management.
Generally, the basic three-phase process takes a few months. Although I, by Order of the Court, is given permission and independent authority to confer with the children’s school, daycare, healthcare providers, extended family members, significant others and any other individuals and/or programs of relevant to the case, I strive not to involve the children. I believe parents, not the children, have the responsibility, the power, the motivation and the ability to resolve their adult parenting issues. Agreement to Participate Parents shall, at any time, bring to my attention any concerns regarding me or the process. Further, parents may request to discharge the Parent Coordinator but may not litigate or take legal action against the Parent Coordinator. If past, present or potential danger or violence to parent, children or the elderly is suspected, the Parent Coordinator shall report it as required by law.
Fees: Parent Coordinator fees include a $400.00 retainer fee and an hourly rate of $100.00/hour. The fees are charged for all time expended working on your case (including but not limited to phone, text, email, and postal communication; preparation, meetings, documentation, speaking with attorneys, filing with the court, possibly travel time, time spent collecting fees, etc.).
A cancellation (less than 7 days notice) or tardy will be billed as scheduled. Checks with insufficient funds will be billed an additional $40.00 service fee per check. Time spent recovering Parent Coordinator fees will be billed at $100.00 per hour. Please note the Parent Coordinator will communicate with each parent individually as well as with both parents together, attorneys and anyone deemed important to the case. Time may not be spent equally with parents or with either side but will work to benefit both parents and their children. If either parent subpoenas the Parenting Coordinator in any capacity related to this case or to testify in any court of law, the fee is $100.00/hour (including time for travel, all forms of communication regarding the case, preparation, meetings, documentation, attendance and expenses, etc).
A non-refundable fee of $300.00 is due in advance of appearing in court and will be applied to travel time and time being available to the court. The parent, or as ordered by the court, who subpoena’s the Parent Coordinator is responsible for paying the Parent Coordinator’s fees. Parents agree not to sue the Parent Coordinator for her testimony or lack of testimony. In addition, if the Parent Coordinator requires counsel the client will pay all expenses pertaining to her defense, including attorney consultation and representation.
Payment: Payment is due at time of service unless other arrangements have been made in advance. Payment is accepted via cash or check. If married, the couple is responsible for payment of all fees. If not married, each parent is individually responsible for payment of fees as determined by the Court order. Payment is due regardless of the outcome of your case and/or working with the Parent Coordinator.
Please advise me if you have a disability which requires special accommodation. This is an important process that strives to make your family’s lifestyle healthier and more peaceful. And hopefully your children will not only adjust to their parent’s situation but thrive because of how their parents adjust to their situation.
If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact me. Lynn Romano, M.A., Parent Coordinator
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