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Parenting Coordination FAQ

Parenting Coordination is a new dispute resolution method for divorced parents and other parents with a parenting plan or other final order. The goal is to assist the parents in carrying out the parenting plan (or other court order about the children) and thus minimizing the risk of returning to court.

There are 3 key functions of a parenting coordinator:

  1. Education - Teach the parents appropriate communication techniques and how to protect their child from parental hostility.
  2. Mediation - Facilitate interest-based negotiation of disputes.
  3. Arbitration - If mediation does not resolve the dispute about carrying out the parenting plan, the parenting coordinator makes the decision.

Parenting coordinators are appointed by agreement of the parents. The specifics agreed to become part of a court order that spells out the parenting coordinator's role and payment of fees.

The arbitration (decision-making) power of the parenting coordinator is limited to disputes about carrying out the parenting plan and other minor parenting issues. The parenting coordinator may NOT change primary residence, the amount of child support, or other key issues that only a court may decide.

Who is qualified to be a parenting coordinator? A person with these qualities:

  • Lawyer or mental health practitioner experienced in assisting divorcing individuals.
  • Completion of 40 hour mediation training.
  • Completion of parenting coordination training.

Why are these qualifications important? The parenting coordinator is a sort of "super-mediator" who needs experience in dealing with the pain and anger that in some families continues for years after the divorce.

As mediation is a central part of the role, the parenting coordinator must have at least a basic mediation training (40 hours). As the job includes not only mediation but also arbitration, specific training as a parenting coordinator is essential. The standard parenting coordination training is 2 days.

The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, the pioneer in providing parenting coordination training, has issued guidelines for qualifications of parenting coordinators.
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