What is a Parenting Co-ordinator?
Parenting co-ordination is an approach to resolving ongoing parenting issues once a parenting plan has been established. Most parenting plans are in the form of a court order or written agreement. These normally deal with guardianship, parental responsibilities, and parenting time (access). However, no agreement can cover all contingencies. Parenting co-ordination comes in when parents have difficulties working out the implementation of an agreement or court order.
A parenting co-ordinator is an alternative to returning to court to resolve disputes. When parent’s can’t reach an agreement a parenting co-ordinator will make the decision. The decision is binding on both parents.
How does it work?
When disputes arise, either parent may contact the parenting co-ordinator. The parenting co-ordinator will listen to both parent’s point of view and will consider the child’s wishes when appropriate. The co-ordinator will attempt to build a consensus, but if that fails, the co-ordinator will make a binding decision.
For example, a court order may say that the parents split Christmas holidays. It will not include specific dates. In the past if there were a dispute, the parents would have to go to court to resolve the dispute. This could cost thousands of dollars per parent and take a couple of months. A parenting co-ordinator would listen to both parents. They may speak to the child. They will try and help the parents reach a deal. If that fails, they will make the decision in the same way that a judge would. The difference is that lawyers do not need to be involved and the process will cost hundreds not thousands. The cost is normally divided between the parents.
The speed at which parents can access a parenting co-ordinator is a major benefit. Disputes can be discussed in person, by telephone or by video conferencing. Parents do not need to be in the same location as a parenting co-ordinator. A parenting co-ordinator can also make the decision by telephone as long as they provide the parents with a written decision soon after.
The cost of a Parenting Coordinator is significantly less then hiring lawyers and going to court. We charge $200 per hour for parenting co-ordination. This is normally divided based on each parties income, like special expenses. A Parenting Coordinator can settle a dispute for a few hundred dollars, rather that going to court for a few thousand dollars.
If future disputes arise, the parents can go back to the parenting co-ordinator. Along the way, the parenting co-ordinator will try to help the parties develop independent resolution skills. Parenting co-ordinators also help parents communicate better and avoid hot button items which trigger conflict.
How do I get started?
Contact Victoria Mediation Services to arrange a consult with an accredited BC Parenting Co-ordinator.