What is a parenting coordinator?

Parenting coordination is one of the newest tools lawyers have at their disposal in family cases. It started about 10 years ago by a psychologist in California who observed that some families were repeatedly back in court, sometimes as much as 150 times. She started developing a process to prevent that from happening. Since then, it’s become popular worldwide and is recognized by the Family Law Act.

A parenting coordinator helps deal with all of the day-to-day issues that arise after an interim, a final court order, or a separation agreement is obtained. For example, they can deal with what is allowed on a child’s birthday, make decisions about how to split up holidays, and who is going to take the children to their hockey games and dance recitals. They can be appointed either by court order or in a separation agreement. It is a voluntary arrangement, meaning the couple cannot be forced into seeing one. 

Parenting coordinators save both time and money. Instead of having to prepare notices of motion and affidavits and trundling off to court to decide these issues, coordinators can send an email regarding the issue, ask the other party for their input, and try to find a quick resolution. If the parties cannot find a resolution, the coordinator can make a ‘determinator’ in which they make the decision for the family. The determination is binding and if one party does not follow the ruling, it can be taken to court and enforced by a judge.