What is parenting coordination?
Parenting coordination is a child-focused alternative dispute resolution process that helps parents in high conflict cases resolve parenting disputes without court intervention.
How do parents begin the parenting coordination process?
Parents who would like to engage a parenting coordinator do so by agreement. Once the parents agree to use a parenting coordinator, an order appointing the parenting coordinator and defining the parenting coordinator’s authority to make decisions and recommendations is drafted, signed by the parents and submitted to the court for signature. Once the order is signed by both parents and the court, the parenting coordination process can begin. (Insert link to draft parenting coordinator agreement)
What are the benefits to parenting coordination?
The parenting coordinator assists the parties in the following areas:
- Reduces reliance upon court intervention and litigation
- Parents develop a parenting plan
- Implementation of a parenting plan
- Provides a basis for monitoring compliance with a parenting plan
- Provides a forum for efficient analysis and resolution of disputes that arise between parents regarding custody and visitation with children
- Helps the parents focus on the children’s needs
- Improve communication between the parents
- Provide a buffer between the child therapist and the parents
What types of issues are handled by the parenting coordinator?
A parenting coordinator’s role is defined by the agreement appointing the parenting coordinator. Thus, parents may choose the scope of the parenting coordinator’s responsibility so long as the agreement to appoint the parenting coordinator does not abrogate the court’s jurisdiction to decide custodial issues. For instance, a parenting coordinator may make orders regarding minor modifications to a parenting plan, but may not make changes to custody orders (i.e. changing custody from one parent to another) or make substantial changes to a parenting schedule such that the change would effectively amount to a change in custody.
What if a parent does not like the parenting coordinator’s decision?
There is a process for challenging the parenting coordinator’s decision whereby the party challenging the parenting coordinator’s decision would file a motion with the court objecting to the decision. This process is clearly defined in the parenting coordination agreement.
What if I feel the parenting coordinator is not doing her job properly?
Generally, a parenting coordinator has quasi judicial immunity. However, if a parent has a complaint about the parenting coordinator’s handling of the case, there is a dispute resolution process that is detailed in the parenting coordination agreement.