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Parenting Coordination: Is it Right for You?

Emily Verbiski

What is Parenting Coordination? 

Parenting Coordination is a form of alternative dispute resolution that assists co-parents in resolving conflicts on an ongoing basis. In Alberta, Parenting Coordination is a voluntary process requiring the consent of both parties to engage in the process. It is typical for a Parenting Coordinator to be a mental health or legal professional with training in alternative dispute resolution, child development, and high conflict divorce / separation.

When is Parenting Coordination Helpful? 

The service is best suited for parties in a moderate to high conflict separation / divorce. The following may be an indicator that a Parenting Coordinator can be of assistance:

  • There is a history of an inability or unwillingness to cooperate in making parenting decisions;
  • One or both parties do not comply with parenting agreements or orders;
  • The children are being included in parental conflict; or
  • There is a consistent use of the court system to resolve minor parenting disputes (e.g. minor changes in schedule, extracurricular activities, etc.).

What is the Role of the Parenting Coordinator? 

The function of the Parenting Coordinator is to decrease the conflict between the parties and assist families in working towards resolution productively.

The scope of a Parenting Coordinator’s authority must be agreed upon by the parties in advance of the sessions. In some instances, a Parenting Coordinator will have a limited role in helping the parents carry out the terms of an agreement or court order (or a parenting plan). The Parenting Coordinator would not have the authority to change the parenting arrangements previously set out. However, the parties can also agree to enter into Parenting Coordination with arbitration powers. This provides the Parenting Coordinator with the jurisdiction to arbitrate issues if the parents are unable to reach an agreement. The Parenting Coordinator becomes the neutral third party / decision-maker in a dispute. Again, the parties can choose to give the Parenting Coordinator significant latitude in their decision-making authority, or they can elect to limit the scope. The process is flexible to best fit a family’s needs.

In sum, Parenting Coordination is a form of alternative dispute resolution that can assist parents facing difficulties in ongoing parenting conflict. It can reduce the amount of time and resources spent litigating continuously and provide parents with tools to resolve issues into the future.

The family lawyers at Vogel LLP are equipped to answer any further questions regarding Parenting Coordination and if it is the right fit for your family.

2022-05-17T16:31:28+00:00May 24, 2022|Family Law|
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