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Family law: Giving kids a voice in parenting coordination

When separated or divorced parents are having trouble with parenting plans that are in place, they have some recourse in the form of parenting coordination. Under family law, Alberta parents can utilize parenting coordinators to help them problem solve any issues they are having with parenting plans. Parenting coordination -- which is a part of alternative dispute resolution in the province -- uses various techniques to help parents and those can include education, mediation and negotiation.

Parenting coordinators try to help parents keep issues out of the courtroom. They will work with parents to ensure that the best interests of children come first. This form of alternative dispute resolution is becoming more popular thanks not only to its cost-effectiveness, but its success rate. In some instances, children are given a say in those issues that concern them, and in fact, it's one of their fundamental rights under the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child, which was ratified in Canada.

A two-year pilot project that wound up in 2014, showed that most children between the ages of 8 and 17 wanted to be able to express their thoughts to a parenting coordinator. Most parenting coordinators found hearing from children to be beneficial in the overall parenting coordination process. Child inclusion can bring many benefits to the alternative dispute resolution process.

An Alberta family law lawyer can help parents to better understand laws that relate to parenting such as parenting coordination. Divorce and separation is very disruptive and unsettling for most children. A lawyer may be able to help parents to help their children get through a very emotionally turbulent time in a family's life.   

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