A Parenting Coordinator (the PC) is usually a mental health professional or lawyer who has experience with high conflict families, child development, family systems and patterns of domestic violence, as well as specific training in the unique dispute resolution process of Parenting Coordination. The PC’s role is to help the parties minimize parental conflict. PCs do this in two ways. The first is an educative function – helping parents develop more effective problem-solving and communication skills, and educating them about relevant child development principles. Secondly, PCs assist parents with the successful implementation of their Parenting Plan. If there is a dispute with respect to the Plan, the PC will try to mediate an agreement between the parties. If that fails, the PC will gather all necessary information from the parents and from any other necessary sources and make a binding decision that is in the best interests of the child. It is important to note that PCs do not make decisions about legal custody, mobility or parenting schedules; the jurisdiction of a PC is derived from their separation agreement, court order or arbitration award. PC is known as ‘secondary arbitration’ under the Family Law Act, and, like mediation and arbitration processes, requires that the parties are screened first by the PC for power imbalances including family violence to ensure that the situation is appropriate for this process.
Our PC section is actively engaged in consulting and creating the Standards of Certification for Ontario’s first Parenting Coordination designation. We anticipate launching this designation September 1. Information about the course requirements for trainers wishing to develop courses to support this certification will be posted to the site along with information about the application process for the designation.