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 for everyone. The vast majority of separating parents have no need of a parenting coordinator.

Parenting coordinators are for those few couples 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 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 to argue about and the conflicts seem endless. 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.".

When should you hire a parenting coordinator?

At present, parenting coordinators trained through the BC Parenting Coordinators Roster Society are only available 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 issues outstanding following 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 an accessUnder the ''Divorce Act'', the schedule of a parent's time with his or her children under an order or agreement. Access usually refers to the schedule of the parent with the least time with the child. See "custody." 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.

How do you pick a parenting coordinator?

The website of the BC Parenting Coordinators Roster Society has a list of their members, sorted alphabetically but with the members identified by the location of their practice and by 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 with a link to the member's webpage or website.

When you've found one or two parenting coordinators with a good location and a background you like, give them each a call and maybe 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.

Whatever you do, don't forget to ask the parenting coordinator about his or her current workload and when the parenting coordinator will be available to help.

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.

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 his or her list.

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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