Parenting Coordination is an alternative dispute resolution process for chronically high conflict couples. The goal is to help parents interpret, implement and comply with their previously agreed upon parenting plan or court ordered plan.
Parenting Coordination is usually performed by mental health professionals, like social workers, however, some come from other disciplines. Parents often hire a PC when they have exhausted all other avenues of conflict resolution and the children remain negatively impacted by their conflict. To begin the process, parents are encouraged to get independent legal advice and ensure their lawyers sign the PC agreement with them.
Parenting Coordination blends legal and clinical function with the intent to resolve disputes in a timely manner and finalize an issue.
It is appropriate in situations where there is a high degree of anger and mistrust, poor communication, verbal abuse, and aggression. It is also suitable for conditions where there are high retaliation rate and where there are multiple agencies involved, like police and child protection.
The Parenting Coordinator does not represent any of the parties, and, will not act as a therapist or counsellor (whether trained as one or not).
Parenting Coordination can help to:
As a first step, the relationship between the parenting coordinator and the parents must be set out in the PC agreement. The agreement outlines the scope of the PC involvement, the length of the contract, the fee structure and the conditions under which the contract may be terminated.
The average length of a parenting coordination contract is two years, but, can be negotiated for a shorter period of time. In that time, the hope is that parents improve their communication and decrease conflict to such an extent that PC involvement would no longer be required.
Parenting coordinators have special training and should hold a post secondary degree.
To ensure you have a professional with the best training, potential clients should ensure that the parenting coordinator has the proper credentials.
In Ontario, most PC are certified with the Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario (FDRIO). For more information visit https://www.fdrio.ca/