How Do I Hire a Parenting Coordinator?
Who should hire a parenting coordinator?
A parenting coordinator can be helpful for families in which the parents have a history of high conflict, repetitive disagreements on parenting decisions, and/or the inability to cooperate on guardianship issues. Most separating parents do not need a parenting coordinator if they have a demonstrated ability to solve parenting disputes by agreement.
Parents who find themselves in court frequently asking a judge to make ordinary parenting decisions are the parents who would benefit most from parenting coordination.
A parenting coordinator may be engaged by agreement or by order of the court and can be given authority to make specific classes of parenting decisions if the parents cannot agree. In addition, a parenting coordinator can be given authority to settle specific questions (for example, choice of school) or to resolve disputes about s. 7 expenses.
When should you hire a parenting coordinator?
Under the current law, a parenting coordinator can only be appointed when there is a parenting plan in place as an order of the court or a written agreement of the parties.
Parenting coordinators cannot make fundamental changes to a parenting arrangement, such as guardianship terms, residency or significant changes to the parenting schedule. A parenting coordinator can make adjustments to the parenting schedule and assist with routine parenting decisions, such as extra-curricular activities, participation in special events, routine medical interventions, travel protocols, handling of child-related documents and settlement of disputes over holidays.
Parenting coordinators can help resolve problems about parenting disputes, help parents to communicate more effectively, and coach parents to try and resolve problems themselves. If, with the parenting coordinator's help, the parents are not able to resolve a parenting dispute, the parenting coordinator has the power to make a decision for the parents on issues within the parenting coordinator's authority.
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 a candidate that looks suitable, give them each a call or send an email to inquire about availability, rates and general approach. You may be able to arrange a preliminary meeting, but be prepared to pay the parenting coordinator’s rate for that meeting. Some candidates offer a free initial consultation but you should confirm this first. 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 the other parent might listen to.
When talking with potential parenting coordinators ask about:
- their current workload,
- when the parenting coordinator will be available to help,
- their hourly fees and retainer requirements, and
- the manner in which their work is done, for example: personal meetings, email or video chat.
Typically, the contract with a parenting coordinator is for two years and the fees are split equally between the parents, with discretion to the parenting coordinator to adjust the fees to ensure fairness and compliance with the process.
How do you hire a parenting coordinator?
Finding an available parenting coordinator is relatively easy. The common challenges are:
- getting the other parent to agree to try parenting coordination, and
- finding a parenting coordinator the other parent will agree to.
In most cases, it's helpful to suggest a list of two or three candidates, ask the other parent for their list, and try to pick one that you can both agree on.
If there is no agreement on using the parenting coordination process or on whom to appoint, it will be necessary to make an application to the court and have the court decide.
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 Morag Macleod QC, April 8, 2019.|
|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.|