A Parenting Coordinator (PC) can be appointed by the Court or be agreed upon with the consent of both parents and offers parents involved in high-conflict disputes the consistent, ongoing direction of a single, qualified professional using a less adversarial, less expensive dispute resolution process. It is most useful when there is already a parenting plan or when there are other arrangements in place for custody, guardianship and parenting time. Parenting coordination is meant to help implement parenting arrangements once the framework is in place, It is a long-term, child-centered process for parents who already have a court order or written agreement about parenting issues but still find themselves in conflict.
Parents who agree to try working with a PC rather than going back to Court or who have been ordered to retain a PC, will meet with a PC and sign a Parenting Coordinator Agreement. This Agreement outlines the roles, objective and scope of the PC’s services, as well as setting out the rights and obligations of the parents. The PC will usually be retained for a period of 2 years to give the family stability and a long term solution which focuses on resolving issues and on creating healthier environments for their children.
Parenting Coordination is an effective way to minimize conflict for people whose communication and trust has broken down and for those parents who find themselves frequently in power struggles in having to deal with multiple court applications, and in cases where even the most minor decisions result in escalating conflict.
When parenting disputes arise, either parent may contact the PC who will then listen to each parent’s side of the story. The PC will make their best efforts to reach a resolution of the dispute through information gathering and consensus building. If a settlement cannot be reached by agreement, the PC will make a determination to resolve the dispute which both parents will be bound by. When the next problem comes up, the parents will go back to their PC and the process starts again. Along the way, the PC will also try to help the parents learn to communicate more effectively with each other and identify the issues which trigger disputes with a goal of better parenting for the children.