A parenting coordinator (“PC”) is a neutral third party, who helps separated or divorced parents resolve child-related disagreements. Instead of going to court to resolve these disputes by a judge at a contentious hearing or trial, the parties meet with the parenting coordinator to discuss the issues and find solutions. Sometimes communications with the PC are also through phone conferences and emails. The parenting coordinator is designated by the parties and appointed by the court either during or after the divorce or separation. The court typically authorizes the PC to make binding decisions, which are appealable to the court.
A guardian ad litem (“GAL”) is appointed by the court, in the course of a divorce or paternity action, to investigate or evaluate issues involving custody and the parenting schedule, as well as other issues the court deems important to the case. The GAL investigation typically involves interviewing the parents, the children, and other relevant people (often professionals), as well as visiting the parents and children in their respective homes. At the end of the investigation, the GAL issues a report to the court which often includes recommendations. The GAL investigation and report can assist the judge in making decisions at trial, but is often used by the parties and their attorneys to try to reach a settlement in the case.
Research indicates that children who are chronically exposed to conflict can suffer long-term problems, including depression and low self-esteem. Whether Attorney Cohen is serving as a PC or a GAL in a case, she is committed to helping parents find solutions that will minimize the stress on their children and will lead to better co-parenting relationships with their ex-spouse or partner. The importance of finding effective and non-destructive ways to co-parent cannot be over-emphasized and Attorney Cohen is committed to that goal. Her extensive background in the fields of family law and psychology provide Attorney Cohen with the necessary skills to work effectively to get results, always with care and compassion. In addition to her direct work with families, Attorney Cohen is also actively involved in establishing conferences and trainings for professionals who do GAL and PC work, through the Massachusetts Association of Guardians ad litem (“MAGAL”), where she is a former board member and an active member of the Education Committee, as well as the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (“AFCC”).
LAW OFFICES OF KAREN B. COHEN • Concord, MA • 978-371-5521