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Parent Coordination

Parenting coordination is a relatively new practice in family law. Most often, a parenting coordinator, as a third-party neutral, assists families who are engaged in child custody disputes either during the course of a divorce, or after a divorce decree or custody order has been entered.  

According to the Ohio Supreme Court Rule of Superintendence 90(C), parenting coordination is “…a child-focused dispute resolution process…to assist parties in implementing a parental rights and responsibilities or companionship time order using assessment, education, case management, conflict management, coaching, or decision-making.” A parenting coordinator is ordered by a court in cases where this service is necessary. The parenting coordinator generally helps parties with issues as they arise, and makes sure that the terms of any parenting plan or companionship time orders are followed.  Parenting coordination is often used in “high-conflict” cases, where the litigants have filed many motions or returned to court repeatedly to try and resolve parenting disputes.

Parenting coordination – also included in the category of alternative dispute resolution – offers parties the ability to resolve issues without the time and expense of returning to the courthouse.  PC’s are not mediators, but they can assist the parties in attempting to reach amicable solutions to problems and disputes.  If there is no agreement to be had, the PC can act as the “tie-breaker,” subject to the terms of the parties’ court orders and agreements, to make decisions more quickly and often less expensively than can be had in a court proceeding.

To be appointed, parenting coordinators must meet the following criteria:

  1. A master’s degree or higher, law degree, or education and experience satisfactory to the court or division;
  2. A minimum of two years of professional experience in situations involving children (parenting coordination, counseling, casework, legal representation in family law matters, serving as a guardian ad litem or mediator, or similar experience satisfactory to the court or division); and
  3. Completed at least:

12 hours of mediation training;
40 hours of specialized family or divorce mediation training;
14 hours of specialized training in domestic abuse and mediation; and
12 hours of specialized training in parenting coordination.

In most cases, both parties share the cost of a parenting coordinator’s services.