How Do I Hire a Parenting Coordinator?

From Clicklaw Wikibooks

Who should hire a parenting coordinator?

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 trial, 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 judge to make a decision. These are the parents who would benefit most from parenting coordination.

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 order or a separation agreement.

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 parent and they usually won't make long-lasting changes to a schedule of parenting time or contact. 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 lawyer, 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 retainer 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.

This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Inga Phillips, July 12, 2017.

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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