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alternative to running back to Court
high-conflict separations or divorces, parenting issues may arise with
greater frequencies that continue to bring parents back to Court for
resolution. This strategy is both untimely and expensive. An alternate
strategy to manage such disputes as they arise is through the use of a
Parenting Coordinator is a neutral person to whom parents can turn when in
dispute on matters relating to the children. Parents may access the
service of a Parenting Coordinator in a more timely fashion and costs are
almost always less than going to Court.
role of the Parenting Coordinator is to help parents come to a successful
resolution between themselves.
the Parenting Coordinator may also be empowered by the parents or by Court
Order, to make recommendations binding on the parents in the event they
are unable to agree on solutions. If either parent feels there is
sufficient reason to challenge the recommendations of the Parenting
Coordinator, they still have recourse to the Courts, but may be subject to
costs if the Courts support the recommendations of the Parenting
Parenting Coordinator cannot change the Order of a Court, particularly
where child custody has been determined, but may assist
the parents in implementing strategies, consistent with Court Orders.
regard to costs associated with the Parenting Coordinator service, parents
typically divide these equally unless there is a prior agreement to do
otherwise or unless there is an Order of the Court specifying how costs
are to be distributed between the parties. The parents, lawyers or Courts
should determine the matter of distribution of costs, prior to referral.
It is not appropriate for the intended Parenting Coordinator to act as
broker or negotiator with respect to distribution of costs because as of yet, they have no
knowledge of the case and issues therein.
to commence service, the Parenting Coordinator must become acquainted with
the parents, the children, the history of the parental conflict, and matters of
current concern. While the actual process is at the discretion of the
Parenting Coordinator or service agency, the process is likely to include
a review of prior reports and/or Court documents, individual meetings with
parents, meetings with the children and then joint meetings with the
parents unless this is contra-indicated as in cases of domestic violence.
the Parenting Coordinator is familiar with the parents, children and
issues, the Parenting Coordinator may then set out an agreement and any
stipulations for the provision of service. Assuming agreement between the
parents and the Parenting Coordinator to work together, then they may
begin to address actual issues at hand. In so doing, the Parenting
Coordinator is usually empowered to obtain any other information deemed
necessary to help resolve matters. Generally speaking, children are
excused from further meetings, unless at the discretion of the Parenting
Coordinator their participation is required.
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
For information on Direnfeld's book, Raising Kids Without Raising Cane, click here.
20 Suter Crescent, Dundas, ON, Canada L9H 6R5 Tel: (905) 628-4847 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org