Parenting Coordination FAQ

WHEN?

Parenting coordination is appropriate for high conflict cases dealing with child-related issues, such as when

  • there is a high rate of litigation, especially concerning the implementation of a custody order or parenting plan;

  • mediation has not been successful or has been deemed inappropriate;

  • parents need assistance developing, modifying or implementing their parenting plan;

  • parents have difficulty communicating information about their child’s welfare;

  • parents are unable to agree on substantive issues concerning their child;

  • there are complex child-related or family issues that require intensive case managing

 

WHAT?

Parenting coordination is an alternative dispute resolution process combining assessment, education, case management, conflict resolution and, sometimes, decision-making functions.  A Parenting coordinator (PC) is typically appointed by a court order or private consent agreement to help parents implement, modify and comply with the parenting plan.  PCs assist parents by providing: (1) education about co-parenting and parental communication; (2) the psychological and developmental needs of the children; (3) strategies to manage conflict and reduce the negative effects on children; and (4) effective post-separation parenting.  To further assist parents and children, PCs facilitate referrals to community providers when necessary and collaborate with other professionals who may already be involved with the family.

 

In some areas, a PC can help parents create their parenting plan and can make recommendations and/or decisions for the parents as specified in the court order or agreement.  Any decisions made by the PC are subject to the review of the court, which is an important safeguard to the process.

 

HOW?

The process of entering parenting coordination varies amongst jurisdictions. 

 

WHO?

Since PCs are appointed in high conflict cases, their qualifications are particularly important.  The Associated of Family and Conciliation Courts’  recommend that PCs have specialized psychological knowledge, relevant legal knowledge and significant experience working with high-conflict divorce and parent separation cases.  PCs should also have experience with mediation and specific training in parenting coordination.  Depending on the jurisdiction, the PC may be required to be licensed as a mental health professional, psychologist or attorney, or certified as a family mediator.  The PC may be required to have a specific number of years of experience working with high conflict families.