Parenting Coordinator

What is a Parenting Coordination?

Parenting Coordination is a non-adversarial dispute resolution process that is court ordered or agreed upon by divorced and separated parents who have an ongoing pattern of high conflict and/or litigation about their children.  (Coates, Deutsch, Starnes, Sullivan, & Sydlik, 2004; Deutsch, Coates, & Fieldstone, 2008; Kelly, 2002, 2008).

Parenting coordination is a child-focused alternative dispute resolution process for high conflict parents with a history of ongoing child disputes. It is a process that combines dispute assessment, conflict reduction, case management, mediation, parent education and (usually) arbitration. Generally, it is a non-confidential intervention that is authorized and governed by state statute, local rule or private agreements. The underlying principal of the Parenting Coordination intervention is a continuous focus on children’s best interests by the Parenting Coordinator (PC) in working with high conflict parents and in decision-making. Parenting Coordination is designed to help parents implement and comply with court orders or parenting plans, to make timely decisions in a manner consistent with children’s developmental and psychological needs, to reduce the amount of damaging conflict between caretaking adults to which children are exposed, and to diminish the pattern of unnecessary re-litigation about child-related issues.

Who is a Parenting Coordinator (PC)?

A Parenting Coordinator is a mental health or family law professional with experience in divorce, high conflict, contested custody & access issues, children, parenting plans, and experience in mediation/negotiation who helps high conflict parents resolve post-separation disputes.

Who is Parenting Coordination appropriate for?

  • Parents who continue to have frequent disputes regarding their children after separation/divorce.
  • Parents who use their children to express their disputes – putting them in the middle
  • Disputing parents with personality disorders & problems and dysfunctional relationships
  • Parents that overuse the adversarial process to express anger/rage, grievances, & to punish.
    Kelly, 2014

What types of disputes are often settled by a Parenting Coordinator?

  • Parenting time schedules/access, holidays & vacations, temporary variations, transitions, travel and passport arrangements
  • Child’s recreational and enrichment activities
  • Education or daycare (tutoring, summer school, school choice, placement)
  • Health care management (medical, dental, psychotherapy, vision)
  • Religious observances and education
  • Child rearing issues, including alteration of children’s appearance (haircuts, piercing)
  • Forms of communication between parents
  • Parent behaviors and parenting issues
  • Substance abuse testing, counseling
  • Changes in parenting plan consistent with child’s developmental changes
  • Role of significant others, extended family