Difference between revisions of "Parenting Coordination"

From Clicklaw Wikibooks
Jump to navigation Jump to search
 
(26 intermediate revisions by 4 users not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
 
{{JP Boyd on Family Law TOC|expanded = outofcourt}}{{JPBOFL Editor Badge
 
{{JP Boyd on Family Law TOC|expanded = outofcourt}}{{JPBOFL Editor Badge
|ChapterEditors = [[Jane Henderson|Jane Henderson, QC]] and [[Taryn Moore]]
+
|ChapterEditors = [[Morag MacLeod|Morag MacLeod QC]], and [[Catherine Brink]]
 
}}
 
}}
  
Parenting coordination is a child-focused dispute resolution process for separated families. Parenting coordination deals with parenting disputes arising after an agreement or order has been made about parental responsibilities, parenting time or contact. Parenting coordinators are experienced family law lawyers, mediators and arbitrators, counsellors, social workers and psychologists.
+
Parenting coordination is a child-focused dispute resolution process for separated families that deals with parenting disputes arising after an agreement or order has been made about parental responsibilities, parenting time, or contact. ''Parenting coordinators'' are experienced family law lawyers, mental health professionals (counsellors, social workers, family therapists, and psychologists), mediators, and arbitrators.
  
 
This section provides a provides a <span class="noglossary">brief</span> introduction to parenting coordination, an overview of the process, and links to some additional resources on parenting coordination.
 
This section provides a provides a <span class="noglossary">brief</span> introduction to parenting coordination, an overview of the process, and links to some additional resources on parenting coordination.
  
 
==Introduction==
 
==Introduction==
 +
Parents who have a separation agreement or court order that establishes a parenting plan but are still fighting over the details may seek the assistance of a parenting coordinator to help resolve their disputes instead of repeatedly getting the courts involved. A parenting coordinator may be appointed by agreement or by order of the court. As with all family dispute resolution professionals, the parenting coordinator will meet with the parties separately prior to starting the process to screen for the presence of family violence.
  
'''Introduction'''
+
===What a parenting coordinator is===
When parents have a Separation Agreement or Court Order that establishes a parenting plan, but they are still fighting over the details, they may agree, or be Ordered by the Court, to have a Parenting Coordinator to assist them in resolving those issues instead of repeatedly coming back to Court.  Parenting Coordination is a child-centered dispute resolution process aimed at high conflict personalities. As with all Family Dispute Resolution Professionals, the Parent Coordinator will meet with the parties separately prior to starting the process to screen for the presence of family violence.
+
A parenting coordinator has specialized training in family law, mediation, arbitration, communications skills development, high conflict family dynamics, and child development. Parenting coordinators are governed by the ''[[Family Law Act]]'', and the [http://canlii.ca/t/8rdx Family Law Act Regulation]. In British Columbia, the [http://www.bcparentingcoordinators.com/ BC Parenting Coordinators Roster Society] administers a roster of parenting coordinators who have met additional standards of training and experience and who abide by established practice guidelines.
  
'''What a Parent Coordinator Is'''
+
===What a parenting coordinator does===
A parent coordinator (PC) is a lawyer or mental health professional (psychologist, counsellor, social worker, family therapist) with specialized training in family law, mediation, arbitration, communications skills development, high confict family dynamics  and  child development . Parent Coordinators are members of the BC Parenting Coordinators  Roster Society [http://www.bcparentingcoordinators.com/ BC Parenting Coordinators Roster Society] and governed by the Society as well as the Family Law Act[[Family Law Act]], and the Family Law Act Regulations[http://canlii.ca/t/8rdx Family Law Act Regulation].
+
Regardless of how detailed a parenting plan or order may be, some parents repeatedly find things to argue about. This kind of parental behaviour has a particularly negative impact on children. A parenting coordinator can be useful in minimizing that conflict by coaching parents on how to:
 +
#manage conflict,
 +
#make better parenting decisions,
 +
#compromise positions in the best interests of their children.
 +
If that doesn't work, the parenting coordinator will mediate or, as a last resort, arbitrate the dispute between the parents. The long term goal of the parenting coordinator is to improve the parents' ability to communicate, problem solve, and make parenting decisions in a healthy and supportive way, without the need for third party interventions like a parenting coordinator or frequent applications to court. That goal may not be attainable for some parents.  
  
'''What a Parent Coordinator Does'''
+
Some examples of what a parenting coordinator may do are:
The parent coordinator provides  parties who cannot agree on aspects of parenting with a relatively quick and informal way to resolve their disputes.  Regardless of how detailed a parenting plan or order may be, some parents will always find things to argue about and it is the children who pay the price for this kind of parental behavior.  A parent coordinator may be useful in minimizing that conflict by attempting to educate the parents on how to manage conflict in a healthy way.  If that doesn’t work the PC will mediate or, as a last resort, arbitrate the dispute between the parents.  The long term goal of the PC is to enable the parents to parent in a healthy and supportive way, without the need for Parenting Coordinators or frequent applications to Court, although that goal may not be
+
*settling disputes or ambiguities about parenting schedules, extra-curricular activities, travel arrangements, holidays, and special events,
attainable for some parents.  
+
*resolving issues about how child expenses will be paid,
 +
*deciding what school a child will attend,  
 +
*determining if a child needs tutoring, therapy, or routine medical treatment, and
 +
*working out a protocol for a child’s belongings, inter-parent communications, parent-child communications, and attendance at a child's events.
  
Some examples of what a PC may do are:
+
===What a parenting coordinator doesn't do===
-deciding extra curricular activities and how they will be paid
+
A parenting coordinator does not:
-deciding what school the child will attend
+
*make original parenting plans or parenting orders,
-determining if a child needs tutoring, therapy or medical treatment
+
*make decisions changing custody or guardianship agreements or orders,
-arranging parenting time for special events
+
*deal with property division, spousal support, or child support (with the possible exception of special expenses),
-deciding how a child’s belongings should be distributed between his or her parents’ homes
+
*deal with relocation.
-deciding the specifics of parenting time if the Agreement or Order is more general (for example the agreement says the parents will share time approximately equally but doesn’t say exactly how)
 
  
'''What a Parent Coordinator Doesn’t Do'''
+
===How the parenting coordinator works===
A parent coordinator does not;
+
A parenting coordinator is appointed by agreement or court order. The appointing agreement or order should specify who is being appointed and a deadline for signing the [https://perma.cc/544Y-KP9Y parenting coordination agreement] and making payment of the required deposits and retainers. A list of parenting coordinators is available at the website of the [http://www.bcparentingcoordinators.com/member-roster/ BC Parenting Coordinators Roster Society].
-make original orders for Parenting Time
+
Some parenting coordinators invite parents to a short meeting to discuss the parenting coordinator's role prior to the formal appointment. This meeting might have a fixed cost or no cost.
-make decisions changing custody or guardianship agreements or orders
+
Once parents agree, or are ordered, to appoint a parenting coordinator, they will enter a [https://perma.cc/544Y-KP9Y parenting coordination agreement] for which they should have independent legal advice. The parenting coordination agreement sets out  in detail  what the parenting coordinator will do, how it will be done, the cost, and how the costs are to be paid. The agreement also provides for the term of the appointment. Section 15(4) of the ''[[Family Law Act]]'' says that the maximum term is for 24 months, which is also the recommended term for most appointments. 12 month appointments are fairly common, however. Shorter appointments (6 months) have been made in specific circumstances, but the process of parenting coordination generally requires longer term engagement with the family for the best outcomes. Parenting coordinator contracts may be renewed for successive terms if the parenting coordinator and the parents agree.
-deal with property division, spousal support, or child support (with the possible exception of special expenses)
 
-deal with relocation 
 
  
'''How the Parent Coordinator Works'''
+
Most parenting coordinators require a deposit and retainer, the price of which typically depends on the length of the appointment, the urgency of any specific issue, the number of issues, and the level of conflict between the parents. Retainers commonly start at $5,000, plus deposits which are set by the specific parenting coordinator appointed. Each parent must each pay their share of the retainers and deposits. As with a lawyer's retainer, the parenting coordinator's retainer and deposit are security for their accounts. When bills are issued, they are paid from the retainer. Deposits are generally held until the end of the appointment and applied to the last account. Any balance remaining is returned to the parent who provided the funds.
The PC is appointed by agreement or court order. An agreement or order appointing a parenting coordinator should specify who is being appointed; a list a of parenting coordinators is available at the website of [http://www.bcparentingcoordinators.com/member-roster/ BC Parenting Coordinators Roster Society].
 
Because the PC role is relatively invasive in a family’s  life, some PC’s offer an opportunity for the parents to have a relatively short meeting  with him or her to meet each other and discuss the role, prior to the formal appointment, either at a fixed cost or no cost.
 
Once the parents and the PC agree, they will enter a Parenting Coordination Agreementhttp://www.bcparentingcoordinators.com/assets/pdfs/BCPCRS_standard_pc_agreement_template_sept_2014.pdf, for which they should have Independent Legal Advice.  The PC Agreement sets out  in some detail  what the PC will do, how it will be done, the cost and how it is to be paid.  The agreement also provides for the term of the arrangement. It may be as short as 6 months  but most PC’s will require that the term be at least 12 to 24 months with an opportunity for the parents to renew the contract if the PC remains willing.  Most PCs will require a retainer and/or a deposit of $5000 to $10,000 and up. The parents must each then pay their share of the parenting coordinator's retainer. As with a lawyer, the retainers paid to the parenting coordinator are security for the parenting coordinator's future bills. When such bills are issued, parenting coordinators will pay themselves by drawing on parties' retainers.  
 
  
Some parenting coordinators will also ask for an additional retainer, called a deposit. This money is held in reserve to enable the parenting coordinator to finish dealing with a problem in the event that a party's retainer runs out in the middle of a dispute and the party refuses to replenish his or her retainer. PC’s charge by the hour for all time spent working with the family so they are very expensive. They may be cheaper in the long run than paying lawyers for numerous applications to Court but they may be more expensive than most families can afford.
+
Parenting coordinators charge by the hour for all time spent working with the family, so the service can be costly, especially if over-used. However, when compared with the cost of numerous applications to court, the process can be quite cost effective, especially with high conflict families. That said, the services of a parenting coordinator may be more expensive than some families can afford.
  
Depending on the circumstances and the age of the children, the parents may also be asked to sign a number of consent forms giving the children’s doctors, care providers, teachers, therapists and any other relevant people, permission to discuss the family with the PC.
+
Depending on the circumstances and the age of the children, the parents may also be asked to sign a number of consent forms giving the children's doctors, care providers, teachers, therapists, and any other relevant people, permission to discuss the family with the parenting coordinator. After the parenting coordination agreement has been signed and the deposits and retainer paid, the parenting coordinators will meet with the parties, usually in person.  Until the presence of family violence has been screened for and an assessment of the level of conflict has been made, most parenting coordinators will meet with the parties separately. The parenting coordinator may also meet with the children and relevant third parties, such as teachers, therapists, or doctors who may be helpful. The parenting coordinator will attempt to coach, mediate, and as a last resort, arbitrate, the resolution of the parenting issues raised. As other issues develop, the same process applies. Some issues may be resolved relatively quickly by phone or email, while other issues will require in person meetings. Either or both parents may bring an issue to the parenting coordinator for resolution, although there is an obligation on parents to make reasonable efforts to resolve disputes directly before engaging the parenting coordinator. For issues within the parenting coordination mandate, decisions of the parenting coordinator are enforceable by the court. Parents who fail to meet their obligations under the parenting coordination Agreement or fail to attend meetings arranged by the parenting coordinator may be penalized in costs, and their lack of cooperation may be reported by the parenting coordinator to the court.
After the Agreement has been signed and the retainer paid, the parents usually have some issues which have accumulated and the PC will then meet with the parties, usually in person and usually together, at least for the first meeting. The PC may also meet with the children and any other people, such as teachers, therapists or doctors who may be helpful.
 
  The PC will attempt to educate, coach, mediate, and as a last resort, arbitrate, the resolution of the issue. As other issues develop, the same process applies. Some issues may be resolved relatively quickly by phone or email, other issues will require in person meetings.
 
Either or both parents may bring an issue to the PC for resolution. Although the PC has no power to force anyone to do anything, it is worth noting decisions of PCs may be enforceable by the Court. Parents who fail to meet their obligations under the PC agreement or fail to attend meetings arranged by the PC may be penalized in costs and their lack of cooperation may be reported by the PC to the Court.
 
  
=='''Enforcing a determination'''===
+
===Enforcing a determination===
  
 
Parenting coordinators' determinations may be enforced by filing them in court, either under Rule 12 of the [http://canlii.ca/t/85pb Provincial Court Family Rules] or Rule 2-1.1 of the [http://canlii.ca/t/8mcr Supreme Court Family Rules].
 
Parenting coordinators' determinations may be enforced by filing them in court, either under Rule 12 of the [http://canlii.ca/t/85pb Provincial Court Family Rules] or Rule 2-1.1 of the [http://canlii.ca/t/8mcr Supreme Court Family Rules].
Line 52: Line 51:
 
===Concluding the retainer===
 
===Concluding the retainer===
  
At the end of the parenting coordinator's term, all parties — the parents and the parenting coordinator — must agree in order to renew the parenting coordination agreement. If the agreement isn't renewed, the parenting coordination process is concluded.
+
At the end of the parenting coordinator's term, parents and the parenting coordinator may agree to renew the parenting coordination agreement. If the agreement isn't renewed by unanimous agreement, the parenting coordination process is concluded unless the court orders a renewal or further appointment.
  
Under s. 15(6) of the ''Family Law Act'', a parenting coordination agreement can be terminated before the end of a parenting coordinator's term in one of three circumstances:
+
Under section 15(6) of the ''[[Family Law Act]]'', a parenting coordination agreement can be terminated before the end of a parenting coordinator's term in one of three circumstances:
  
 
<blockquote><tt>(a) in the case of an agreement, by agreement of the parties or by an order made on application by either of the parties;</tt></blockquote>
 
<blockquote><tt>(a) in the case of an agreement, by agreement of the parties or by an order made on application by either of the parties;</tt></blockquote>
Line 67: Line 66:
 
* [http://canlii.ca/t/8rdx Family Law Act Regulation]
 
* [http://canlii.ca/t/8rdx Family Law Act Regulation]
 
* ''[http://canlii.ca/t/84gc Arbitration Act]''
 
* ''[http://canlii.ca/t/84gc Arbitration Act]''
* [http://canlii.ca/en/bc/laws/regu/bc-reg-169-2009/latest/bc-reg-169-2009.html Supreme Court Family Rules]
+
* [http://canlii.ca/t/8mcr Supreme Court Family Rules]
 
* [http://canlii.ca/t/85pb Provincial Court Family Rules]
 
* [http://canlii.ca/t/85pb Provincial Court Family Rules]
 +
 +
===Documents===
 +
 +
* [https://perma.cc/544Y-KP9Y BC Parenting Coordinators Roster Society: Standard Parenting Coordination Agreement Template (April 2015)]
  
 
===Links===
 
===Links===
Line 88: Line 91:
 
END HIDDEN--->
 
END HIDDEN--->
  
{{REVIEWED | reviewer = [[JP Boyd]], March 24, 2013}}
+
{{REVIEWED | reviewer = [[Morag MacLeod]], Feb 13, 2019}}
  
 
{{JP Boyd on Family Law Navbox|type=chapters}}
 
{{JP Boyd on Family Law Navbox|type=chapters}}

Latest revision as of 11:39, 30 July 2019

Parenting coordination is a child-focused dispute resolution process for separated families that deals with parenting disputes arising after an agreement or order has been made about parental responsibilities, parenting time, or contact. Parenting coordinators are experienced family law lawyers, mental health professionals (counsellors, social workers, family therapists, and psychologists), mediators, and arbitrators.

This section provides a provides a brief introduction to parenting coordination, an overview of the process, and links to some additional resources on parenting coordination.

Introduction[edit]

Parents who have a separation agreement or court order that establishes a parenting plan but are still fighting over the details may seek the assistance of a parenting coordinator to help resolve their disputes instead of repeatedly getting the courts involved. A parenting coordinator may be appointed by agreement or by order of the court. As with all family dispute resolution professionals, the parenting coordinator will meet with the parties separately prior to starting the process to screen for the presence of family violence.

What a parenting coordinator is[edit]

A parenting coordinator has specialized training in family law, mediation, arbitration, communications skills development, high conflict family dynamics, and child development. Parenting coordinators are governed by the Family Law Act, and the Family Law Act Regulation. In British Columbia, the BC Parenting Coordinators Roster Society administers a roster of parenting coordinators who have met additional standards of training and experience and who abide by established practice guidelines.

What a parenting coordinator does[edit]

Regardless of how detailed a parenting plan or order may be, some parents repeatedly find things to argue about. This kind of parental behaviour has a particularly negative impact on children. A parenting coordinator can be useful in minimizing that conflict by coaching parents on how to:

  1. manage conflict,
  2. make better parenting decisions,
  3. compromise positions in the best interests of their children.

If that doesn't work, the parenting coordinator will mediate or, as a last resort, arbitrate the dispute between the parents. The long term goal of the parenting coordinator is to improve the parents' ability to communicate, problem solve, and make parenting decisions in a healthy and supportive way, without the need for third party interventions like a parenting coordinator or frequent applications to court. That goal may not be attainable for some parents.

Some examples of what a parenting coordinator may do are:

  • settling disputes or ambiguities about parenting schedules, extra-curricular activities, travel arrangements, holidays, and special events,
  • resolving issues about how child expenses will be paid,
  • deciding what school a child will attend,
  • determining if a child needs tutoring, therapy, or routine medical treatment, and
  • working out a protocol for a child’s belongings, inter-parent communications, parent-child communications, and attendance at a child's events.

What a parenting coordinator doesn't do[edit]

A parenting coordinator does not:

  • make original parenting plans or parenting orders,
  • make decisions changing custody or guardianship agreements or orders,
  • deal with property division, spousal support, or child support (with the possible exception of special expenses),
  • deal with relocation.

How the parenting coordinator works[edit]

A parenting coordinator is appointed by agreement or court order. The appointing agreement or order should specify who is being appointed and a deadline for signing the parenting coordination agreement and making payment of the required deposits and retainers. A list of parenting coordinators is available at the website of the BC Parenting Coordinators Roster Society. Some parenting coordinators invite parents to a short meeting to discuss the parenting coordinator's role prior to the formal appointment. This meeting might have a fixed cost or no cost. Once parents agree, or are ordered, to appoint a parenting coordinator, they will enter a parenting coordination agreement for which they should have independent legal advice. The parenting coordination agreement sets out in detail what the parenting coordinator will do, how it will be done, the cost, and how the costs are to be paid. The agreement also provides for the term of the appointment. Section 15(4) of the Family Law Act says that the maximum term is for 24 months, which is also the recommended term for most appointments. 12 month appointments are fairly common, however. Shorter appointments (6 months) have been made in specific circumstances, but the process of parenting coordination generally requires longer term engagement with the family for the best outcomes. Parenting coordinator contracts may be renewed for successive terms if the parenting coordinator and the parents agree.

Most parenting coordinators require a deposit and retainer, the price of which typically depends on the length of the appointment, the urgency of any specific issue, the number of issues, and the level of conflict between the parents. Retainers commonly start at $5,000, plus deposits which are set by the specific parenting coordinator appointed. Each parent must each pay their share of the retainers and deposits. As with a lawyer's retainer, the parenting coordinator's retainer and deposit are security for their accounts. When bills are issued, they are paid from the retainer. Deposits are generally held until the end of the appointment and applied to the last account. Any balance remaining is returned to the parent who provided the funds.

Parenting coordinators charge by the hour for all time spent working with the family, so the service can be costly, especially if over-used. However, when compared with the cost of numerous applications to court, the process can be quite cost effective, especially with high conflict families. That said, the services of a parenting coordinator may be more expensive than some families can afford.

Depending on the circumstances and the age of the children, the parents may also be asked to sign a number of consent forms giving the children's doctors, care providers, teachers, therapists, and any other relevant people, permission to discuss the family with the parenting coordinator. After the parenting coordination agreement has been signed and the deposits and retainer paid, the parenting coordinators will meet with the parties, usually in person. Until the presence of family violence has been screened for and an assessment of the level of conflict has been made, most parenting coordinators will meet with the parties separately. The parenting coordinator may also meet with the children and relevant third parties, such as teachers, therapists, or doctors who may be helpful. The parenting coordinator will attempt to coach, mediate, and as a last resort, arbitrate, the resolution of the parenting issues raised. As other issues develop, the same process applies. Some issues may be resolved relatively quickly by phone or email, while other issues will require in person meetings. Either or both parents may bring an issue to the parenting coordinator for resolution, although there is an obligation on parents to make reasonable efforts to resolve disputes directly before engaging the parenting coordinator. For issues within the parenting coordination mandate, decisions of the parenting coordinator are enforceable by the court. Parents who fail to meet their obligations under the parenting coordination Agreement or fail to attend meetings arranged by the parenting coordinator may be penalized in costs, and their lack of cooperation may be reported by the parenting coordinator to the court.

Enforcing a determination[edit]

Parenting coordinators' determinations may be enforced by filing them in court, either under Rule 12 of the Provincial Court Family Rules or Rule 2-1.1 of the Supreme Court Family Rules.

Concluding the retainer[edit]

At the end of the parenting coordinator's term, parents and the parenting coordinator may agree to renew the parenting coordination agreement. If the agreement isn't renewed by unanimous agreement, the parenting coordination process is concluded unless the court orders a renewal or further appointment.

Under section 15(6) of the Family Law Act, a parenting coordination agreement can be terminated before the end of a parenting coordinator's term in one of three circumstances:

(a) in the case of an agreement, by agreement of the parties or by an order made on application by either of the parties;

(b) in the case of an order, by an order made on application by either of the parties;

(c) in any case, by the parenting coordinator, on giving notice to the parties and, if the parenting coordinator is acting under an order, to the court.

Resources and links[edit]

Legislation[edit]

Documents[edit]

Links[edit]


This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Morag MacLeod, Feb 13, 2019.


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.