Hi there...first, let me say that I think this site is
great and you have given me great advice in the past!
My husband and his ex are going to participate in a "parent
coordination" program. His laywer described it as
somewhat like a GAL (lawyer appointed for the child), but that the Coordinator had more
extensive training in child development and conflict
resolution, etc. It is a pretty new program in our
state. The Coordinator will spend time with father and mother,
the children, and interview teachers, therapists, and
anyone else that the parents recommend. Then they will make a
recommendation to the court about a visitation schedule
(that is the issue my husband and his ex can't agree on)
My questions are: Do you know where husband and I could get
more information about other parent coordination
programs? Also, what kind of advice do you have for both
of us going into something like this? Husband and I have no
intention of bad mouthing the mother or anything...(although we
certainly have a lot of issues w/her parenting...) Husband just
wants a more fair amount of time with his children.
Also, during their divorce, the mother falsely accused my husband of
sexual abuse. He was investigated and cleared, never
criminally charged and it was all deemed
unsubstantiated. My husband now has evidence from 3 therapists
that clearly states no abuse ever took place, and that the
issue is the mother, not my husband. (Unfortunately, the husband did not
have this evidence during his divorce and his lawyer was
incompetent) Would it be relevant/wise to bring this issue
to the attention of the evaluator/coordinator? I know you
can't give legal advise, but I didn't know if you might
have any firsthand or personal experience with this.
Thanks so much!!!
Thanks for writing again, and the kind words.
A Parenting Coordinator is someone who helps the court save time. The Parenting Coordinator will likely make recommendations, and those recommendations are probably going to be rubber-stamped by the court unless there is major evidence that counters the best interest of the recommendations. I'd suggest contacting the courthouse's family law info center for more info about the program, or asking them where you could find it.
I would treat this Parenting Coordinator as someone who may help you or hurt you. More clearly, don't assume that this person is your friend, don't assume that this person is your enemy, and don't assume that this person is particularly competent. The only safe assumption is that you're going to be invoiced at an hourly rate to meet with this person. :)
At my request, you provided further details about your situation (not posted). I was hoping for any further relevant information you could provide. Of all the information you provided me, I think the only relevant part is the new information you have about the false sexual abuse allegation against your husband... i.e., information that wasn't available during the divorce.
The other things you provided are pretty minor and will boil down to "he said she said" debates. Really not worth mentioning for your current goal.
So, I think you continue to emphasize the quality of parenting the children will receive with dad.
I think you complement that with Dad's feeling that this should have been joint custody from the beginning, but that mom intentionally manufactured a false sexual abuse accusation in the midst of the divorce to sway the custody ruling. Then, you provide the list of collateral witnesses (i.e., the 3 therapists) to the Parenting Coordinator, and invite the Parenting Coordinator to discuss the matter with them.
Further, I would strongly recommend that Dad take a polygraph to deny each specific false allegation the mother made against him. This isn't admissible in court, but the Parenting Coordinator isn't restricted to rules of evidence. So, it'd be worthwhile to do and give the Parenting Coordinator a copy of the results as to leave no doubt that it was all fabricated.
I suggest that you look up some impressive sounding polygraph examiner in the yellow pages, or call your local police and ask a detective if they can recommend one. Until husband gets the results, don't tell anyone you're doing this (i.e., what if he fails?). So, he'll go and spend $300 or $400 on this exam, on a few very specific allegations that the polygrapher may help you craft (i.e., so it's not vague in any way).
Once you get the results, you bring it to the Parenting Coordinator with everything else. Also, whenever the mother decides to raise the "I still think he did it" issue at any time in the future with any other person, husband can hand them the polygraph results and tell them that the mother is either malicious or delusional. In reply to another person's question, I outline how taking a polygraph was beneficial to me... click here
I still have little doubt that husband will get more time with his kids from what you have now. The only question is how much. Husband should craft all of his proposals to the parenting coordinator in the perspective of why it's best for the kids.