This section provides information on the appointment of a Parenting Coordinator at the Family Justice Courts (FJC).
In high-conflict parenting situations, disagreements frequently arise over how parenting orders, in particular, access arrangements, are to be carried out by the parents after the divorce. These disagreements prolong the acrimony between the pare
In high-conflict parenting situations, disagreements frequently arise over how parenting orders, in particular, access arrangements, are to be carried out by the parents after the divorce. These disagreements prolong the acrimony between the parents. The children, caught in the middle, may suffer developmental harm as a result of the mental stress engendered.
The children, caught in the middle, may suffer developmental harm as a result of the mental stress engendered.
What is Parenting Coordination?
Parenting Coordination is a scheme which provides for a Parenting Coordinator to be appointed to assist parents, who are separated or divorced, learn to co-parent more co-operatively and effectively. The Parenting Coordinator does this by facilitating the resolution of disputes between parents by providing education, mediation and making recommendations to them. With all these, it is hoped that with the assistance the Parenting Coordinator, parenting plans and access arrangements can be implemented in the most efficacious way possible without parties filing further applications in Court after the conclusion of the divorce proceedings.
A Parenting Coordinator is appointed by the court to assist parents in the implementation of parenting orders, including the child access arrangements. Parenting Coordinators, in working directly with the parents, can facilitate communication, educate and help them resolve disagreements concerning the child in a timely manner. This better supports the parents in joint parenting, and minimizes the hurt on the children of any on-going conflict between the parents.
If the Court finds that a case is appropriate for and would benefit from the appointment of a Parenting Coordinator, the Court will appoint a Parenting Coordinator subject:
- both parties are financially able to afford the fees of a Parenting Coordinator.
The Court will only appoint a Parenting Coordinator if a Parenting Order (i.e. order on custody, care and control and/or access) is in place.
The Parenting Coordinator will have the authority to facilitate the resolution of parenting order disputes (whether in whole or in part), including:
- minor changes to parenting time/access schedules or conditions including vacation, holidays, and temporary variation from the existing parenting order;
- transitions/exchanges of the children including date, time, place, means of transportation and transporter;
- communication between the parents about the children including telephone, fax, e-mail, notes in schoolbags; and/or
- communication by a parent
with the children including telephone, cellphone, and e-mail when they are not in that parent’s care.
If parties have a preference for and can agree on a specific Parenting Coordinator, parties may choose to nominate him or her. However, it is up to the Court to make a final decision on the appointment. Do note that the Parenting Coordinator must be a neutral party to the existing proceedings. For example, the Parenting Coordinator must not have acted for either party to the proceedings, or been appointed as a Child Representative in the case.
The duration of the appointment of the Parenting Coordinator ranges from six months to two years and will be specified in the Court Order. The appointment of the Parenting Coordinator shall automatically cease upon the expiry of the duration of appointment, unless extended by the Court.
Parties are to contact the Parenting Coordinator within 10 days of the date of the order to schedule the first appointment.
Parties will need to fill up the Parenting Questionnaire to be submitted to the Parenting Coordinator on the first appointment. The first appointment with the Parenting Coordinator will be a joint session with both parties at the Parent Coordinator’s office unless there are special reasons as to why a joint session should not be convened. In which case, the Parenting Coordinator will meet with parties individually.
At the first session, the Parenting Coordinator will explain the purpose of the sessions and how he or she would be working with parties. This is a good opportunity for parties to understand how each of you can work with the Parenting Coordinator and with each other to be effective co-parents for your children and to clarify any questions you may have. The Parenting Coordinator will work with both parties to decide on the frequency of the parenting coordination sessions and make the necessary arrangements for subsequent sessions.
If there is good reason for a different Parenting Coordinator to be appointed to the case, either party or both parties may apply to the Court. Such a change is however subject to the approval of the Court. Do note that the Parenting Coordinator may also withdraw from your case with the Court’s approval.
No, information that you provide and/or tell the Parenting Coordinator is not confidential. The Parenting Coordinator may be asked to furnish a report or make certain recommendations to the Court should the matter come before the Court for determination (for example, where a resolution cannot be reached on a disputed issue).
Yes, fees are payable to the Parenting Coordinator on a per hour basis and each party will pay for the fees of the Parenting Coordinator. The apportionment of fees for the Parenting Coordinator will be stated in the Court order.