How Do I Hire a Parenting Coordinator?

From Clicklaw Wikibooks

Who should hire a parenting coordinatorA lawyer or mental health professional with special training in the mediation and arbitration of family law disputes, family dynamics and child developmental psychology who meets the training and experience requirements set out in the provincial Family Law Act Regulation.?

Parenting coordinators aren't necessary for everyone. The vast majority of separating parents have no need of a parenting coordinator if they are able to solve parenting disputes together.

Parenting coordinators are for those few parents who found themselves fighting before litigation started, fighting as the litigation wound to trialThe testing of the claims at issue in a court proceeding at a formal hearing before a judge with the jurisdiction to hear the proceeding. The parties present their evidence and arguments to the judge, who then makes a determination of the parties' claims against one another that is final and binding on the parties unless appealed. See "action," "appeal," "argument," "claim," "evidence" and "jurisdiction.", fighting during the trial, and fighting long after the trial. For these parents, no conflict is too small and the conflicts seem endless. They frequently find themselves in court asking the judgeA person appointed by the federal or provincial government to manage and decide court proceedings in an impartial manner, independent of influence by the parties, the government or agents of the government. The decisions of a judge are binding upon the parties to the proceeding, subject to appeal. to make a decisionIn law, a judge's conclusions after hearing argument and considering the evidence presented at a trial or an application; a judgment; the judge's reasons. A judge's written or oral decision will include the judge's conclusions about the relief or remedies claimed as well as their findings of fact and conclusions of law. A written decision is called the judge’s "reasons for judgment." See "common law," "conclusions of law," and "findings of fact.". These are the parents who would benefit most from parenting coordinationA child-focused dispute resolution process used to resolve disputes about parenting arrangements and the implementation of a parenting plan set out in a final order or agreement. See "alternative dispute resolution" and "parenting coordinator.".

In some cases, parents agree to hire a parenting coordinator voluntarily, and in other cases a judge orders that the parents hire a parenting coordinator to help them with ongoing disputes.

When should you hire a parenting coordinator?

In some cases, parents agree to hire a parenting coordinator voluntarily, and in other cases a judge orders that the parents hire a parenting coordinator to help them with ongoing disputes.

At present, parenting coordinators trained through the BC Parenting Coordinators Roster Society can only be involved when there is a final parenting arrangement in place as a result of a final orderA mandatory direction of the court, binding and enforceable upon the parties to a court proceeding. An "interim order" is a temporary order made following the hearing of an interim application. A "final order" is a permanent order, made following the trial of the court proceeding or the parties' settlement, following which the only recourse open to a dissatisfied party is to appeal. See "appeal," "consent order," "decision" and "declaration." or a separation agreementA contract intended to resolve all or some of the legal issues arising from the breakdown of a relationship and intended to guide the parties in their dealings with one another thereafter. A typical separation agreement is signed following a settlement reached through negotiations and deals with issues including guardianship, parenting arrangements, contact, support, the division of property and the division of debt. See "family law agreements.".

Parenting coordinators do not make fundamental changes to a parenting arrangement. While they can and will adjust a parenting schedule from time, they can't decide that a child will live with a different parentIn family law, the natural or adoptive father or mother of a child; may also include stepparents, depending on the circumstances and the applicable legislation; may include the donors of eggs or sperm and surrogate mothers, depending on the circumstances and the terms of any assisted reproduction agreement. See "adoptive parent," "natural parent" and "stepparent." and they usually won't make long-lasting changes to a schedule of parenting timeA term under the ''Family Law Act'' which describes the time a guardian has with a child and during which is responsible for the day to day care of the child. See "guardian." or contactA term under the ''Family Law Act'' that describes the visitation rights of a person who is not a guardian with a child. Contact may be provided by court order or by the agreement among the child's guardians who have parental responsibility for determining contact. See "guardian" and "parental responsibilities.". Parenting coordinators need a framework to work with, whether the framework is provided by a court order or an agreement.

Parenting coordinators will make minor adjustments to a parenting schedule as may be required from time to time. They can help resolve problems about parenting disputes, and they will help the parents to communicate with each other more effectively in order to try and resolve problems between them. If, with the parenting coordinator's help, the parents are not able to resolve a dispute, the parenting coordinator will make a decision for the parents.

How do you pick a parenting coordinator?

The BC Parenting Coordinators Roster Society website lists members alphabetically. It tells you the location of each member's practice, their profession (whether lawyerA person licensed to practice law in a particular jurisdiction. See "barrister and solicitor.", psychologist, registered clinical counsellor, social worker or mediator), and usually there is a link to the member's website.

When you've found one or two parenting coordinators, give them each a call and maybe even arrange to meet each of them. You aren't obliged to hire the first person you meet; wait until you've spoken to someone you feel comfortable with and who you think your ex will listen to.

When talking with potential parenting coordinators:

  • ask about their current workload,
  • ask when the parenting coordinator will be available to help, and
  • ask about their hourly fees and retainerThe act of hiring of lawyer; the money paid by a lawyer to secure their services; the terms and extent of a lawyer's services on behalf of a client. requirements.

Typically, the contract with a parenting coordinator is for two years, and typically the fees are split equally between the parents.

How do you hire a parenting coordinator?

Picking a parenting coordinator you like is the easy part. The hard parts are:

  • getting your ex to agree to try parenting coordination, and
  • finding a parenting coordinator your ex can agree to.

As far as the first problem goes, parenting coordinators must be appointed by the parents' agreement or by a court order. If there is no agreement on who to appoint, it will be necessary to make an application to the court and have the court decide who to appoint.

For the second problem, you may simply have to do some more shopping around. It may help to shift some of the burden to your ex. After suggesting your own list of two or three people, ask your ex for their list. Try to pick one that you can both agree on.

For more information

You can find more information about parenting coordination in the chapter Resolving Family Law Problems out of Court.


Creativecommonssmall.png JP Boyd on Family Law © John-Paul Boyd and Courthouse Libraries BC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence.
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