Once they have a parenting plan, either by agreement or court order, many parents are able to work together to implement it, without further interventions from the court or mediators.
Other parents will experience a higher degree of conflict and may require assistance to make their parenting plan work well for their family.
Parenting Coordination (PC) is a specialized dispute resolution process for those parents needing help with the interpretation and management of their parenting plan.
It is a private, confidential and supportive multi-staged process that offers parents the opportunity to work out their disagreements together, with coaching and mediation from the PC. If they cannot reach agreements, the PC will give them each a chance to submit evidence and make arguments, after which the PC will make a binding decision.
Rather than go to court for day-to-day disagreements, parents can work with a PC who is committed to supporting them and their children in a structured, empathetic and powerful dispute resolution process.
Our team of Parenting Coordinators brings different backgrounds and approaches, but we all work from the same fundamental premise of respect for each parent, and putting the children first.
And because we believe in working as a team, all of our PC parents benefit from having two PCs on their file— so there is always a back-up if needed—for the cost of a single PC.
Goals of the Parenting Coordination Process
The primary goal of the PC process is to empower parents to resolve disputes about their parenting plan between themselves. Parenting coordinators use a range of interventions— from sharing resources and mediating agreements to receiving evidence and making binding decisions where it is in the best interests of the child to do so. Our PCs work thoughtfully with each set of parents to help them learn the most effective co-parenting style for them, and provide them with the most useful resources to help them do that.
Our PC team members are all lawyers who understand both mediation and arbitration well. They are capable and efficient arbitrators when a decision needs to be made.
Our PC services are delivered online, making them fast, affordable and accessible to our clients.
Getting Started with our PC Team
The first step is for the parents to have a final agreement or an order for decision-making and parenting time. Parenting agreements often include terms for retaining a parenting coordinator to resolve future disputes about the parenting plan. (read our post for tips on what those terms should include.)
Once the parents have agreed on their PC, the next step is to submit intake forms and a Consent to a Confidential Interview with the PC. The most suitable PC will meet with each parent to assess if they are ready and if the matter is appropriate for this process.
The next step is for the parents and their lawyers to negotiate the details of the PC Agreement.
Important note: Parenting Coordinators only have the jurisdiction given to them by the parents in the PC Agreement. Judges cannot order parents into PC, it is a 100% voluntary process. So it will be up to the parents and their lawyers to decide how much responsibility they want to give to the PC.
Our Unique, Team PC Model
There are different types of parenting coordinators. It is important for parents to choose the right process and the right PC for their family.
Here is our approach:
- Most importantly, we work as a team. All of our PCs are also lawyers, with lots of training in conflict resolution skills, the needs of children, helping parents communicate effectively, and fair and proportionate arbitration. We assign two PCs to each file— one primary and one back-up—so that your family will be well-served at all times. Learn more about our PC Team here: Hilary Linton, Borzou Tabrizi and Lindsay Kertland.
- We do not try to ‘fix’ you or the other parent. We do not believe in intrusive supervision of parental decision-making. Rather we work with parents to reach agreements on appropriate protocols that are mutually respectful and effective. We keep our communications brief, informative, friendly and firm, and we teach our clients to do the same.
- We follow the New Ways for Families™ coaching model whenever possible, and encourage all our clients to do the same. Learn more about that here.
- We support our clients with many great resources; see our Co-Parenting Resources here.
- We ask our clients to come to us ready to negotiate. We provide all clients with a secure file-sharing centre where all relevant information is uploaded by the parents. We use a lot of structure to help parents find workable ways to communicate and if possible settle their disagreements.
- We believe in fair procedures. If we need to arbitrate, we have a transparent, structured process, one that offers each parent a full opportunity to be heard and to respond to the arguments of the other parent. We provide written decisions with reasons whenever we make one.
- Our rates are reasonable! We charge lower-than-market rates because we want our services to be accessible to those who need them. We charge block fees as much as possible, and work with our clients in scheduled 1-4 hour long meetings whenever possible. And our co-PC model offers our clients the benefit of a back-up professional to support the process, at no added cost to our clients.
- We discourage emergencies. With our highly structured, team process, we find most clients are able to develop the skills they need to avoid crises. This saves our clients time, stress and money.
We have years of experience working as mediators, arbitrators, parenting coordinators and teachers. Our Team members teach not only Parenting Coordination, but also Family Law, Family Arbitration, and Family Mediation.