The Parenting Coordinator facilitates resolution of disputes, educates parents about children’s needs, monitors parental behavior and, with prior approval of the parties and/or the court, makes temporary decisions within the scope of the court order or appointment contract.
(click here to see a model order)
Top 10 Questions about Parenting Coordination:
What is a Parenting Coordinator?
A Parenting Coordinator (PC) is a trained mental health or legal professional with experience in mediation and working with high conflict separated parents. The coordinator assists parents implement their parenting plan and make the changes needed to establish a collaborative parenting partnership. The Parenting Coordinator facilitates resolution of disputes, educates parents about children’s needs, monitors parental behavior and, with prior approval of the parties and/or the court, makes temporary decisions within the scope of the court order or appointment contract.
What is the purpose of Parenting Coordination?
The overall emphasis is to offer children the opportunity to grow in a home environment free from the devastating stress of being caught in the middle of parental conflict. Parenting Coordination combines assessment, education, case management, conflict management and sometimes decision-making functions to help high-conflict parents who have demonstrated an inability or unwillingness to make parenting decisions on their own or comply with parenting agreements and court orders. The family’s progress is monitored to ensure that parents are fulfilling their obligations to their child while complying with the recommendations of the court.
Is Parenting Coordination a Confidential Process?
No. Parenting Coordinators document parental behaviors and compliance with court orders. This is usually done through memos and, if necessary, by testimony to the Court. The parenting coordinators may share their concerns regarding each parent and make recommendations regarding unresolved issues. Erly Family Solutions, LLC, makes use ofwww.OurFamilyWizard.com to document communications between the Parenting Coordinator and all concerned parties.
How is a Parenting Coordinator assigned to a case?
The Parenting Coordinator is usually appointed by the Court and with the consent of the parents. Parents may also volunteer to utilize the services of a PC. Some parents who volunteer stipulate to the appointment. (click here to see a sample order).
Can a Parenting Coordinator make decisions above the parents?
Parenting Coordinators can make recommendations and decisions for parents within the scope of the appointment order. The Parenting Coordinator’s authority is delineated in the court order or by the consent of the parents. Erly Family Solutions, LLC, will post all recommendations and decisions to www.OurFamilyWizard.com.
What kinds of issues does a Parenting Coordinator address?
If specified in the court order, a Parenting Coordinator may have authority to resolve the following types of issues:
- changes or clarification of parenting time schedules including vacation, holidays, and temporary variations from the existing parenting plan
- transitions or exchanges of the children including date, time, place, means of transportation and/or transporter
- health care management including medical, dental, orthodontic and vision care
- child-rearing issues
- psychotherapy or other mental health care including substance abuse assessment or counseling for the children
- psychological testing or other assessment
- school choice issues
- extracurricular activity disputes
- religious observances and education
- communication between the parents about the children
- clothing, equipment and personal possessions of the children
- haircuts, tattoos, ear and body piercing issues
- role of and contact with significant others and extended families
- parenting classes for either or both parents
- any other issues as agreed by the parents and included in the court order or stipulation appointing the parenting coordinator
Can a Parenting Coordinator make a custody decision?
No, this is beyond the scope of the Parenting Coordinator’s role.
Does a Parenting Coordinator offer legal advice?
No, offering legal advice is outside the scope of the Parenting Coordinator’s role.
How is a Parenting Coordinator Paid?
The court order or stipulation usually indicates the allocation of fees paid to the PC. More often than not, fees associated with the parenting coordination process are divided between the parties, taking into consideration the relative incomes of the parties, and giving the Parenting Coordinator authority to reassess allocation of fees depending on the circumstances. The Parenting Coordinator usually explains and discusses with the parents fees, costs and method of payment, in writing and prior to beginning the parenting coordinator process. Erly Family Solutions, LLC, invoices the parties by email and accepts payments of cash, credit card or check.
What happens if you disagree with your Parenting Coordinator?
The parties may seek judicial review of any decision recommended by Parenting Coordinator according to the Maryland Rules. However, should Erly Family Solutions, LLC, or the Parenting Coordinator be subpoenaed to produce records or to testify, then the party on whose behalf the subpoena is issued agrees to the advance payment in full of all fees required by the Parenting Coordination Agreement. Allocations of attorney’s fees remains a judicial decision.