Separation/divorce is usually a difficult period of transition for most families, even for those committed to working through it respectfully and amicably. Protecting the children from parental conflict is of paramount importance to their well-being, growth, and development. Many families can establish and maintain a parenting plan that is in their children’s best interests and adaptive to their children’s changing needs. Some parents experience ongoing conflict in developing and implementing a parenting plan for their children. This can be expensive in terms of emotional, financial and court resources. Parenting Coordination was designed to address and resolve ongoing parenting conflicts more quickly, efficiently, and effectively, which can be especially helpful for high conflict parents.
What Is Parenting Coordination?
Parenting Coordination is an alternative dispute resolution process (“ADR”), being an alternative to court, in which parents work with a Parenting Coordinator to resolve their parenting issues through mediation, counselling, and education to facilitate agreement.
Who Is A Parenting Coordinator?
A Parenting Coordinator is a Mental Health Professional or Legal Professional who has extensive training in Parenting Coordination, Mediation and Arbitration.
What Do You Need To Do To Start?
Parenting Coordination is available to parents who agree to participate in the process. Parents must also agree on the choice of Parenting Coordinator. The parents will sign a ParentingCoordination Agreement with the Parenting Coordinator, setting out the details and parameters of the process. The Agreement specifies the parenting issues that parents must address in the process and authorizes the Parenting Coordinator to determine these issues if parents do not reach agreement. The Parenting Coordination process can be tailored to the needs of the family. Most often, the terms of the Parenting Coordination Agreement are also confirmed in a court order.
How Can Parenting Coordination Help?
Parenting issues commonly addressed in Parenting Coordination include:
- Parenting schedule
- Daily routines
- Sharing of holidays, vacations, and special occasions
- Discipline issues
- Transportation and exchange of children (pick up/drop off arrangements)
- Medical, dental, vision care and other health related issues
- Psychological counselling, testing and assessment
- Extracurricular activities and special events
- Education, e.g. school choice, tutoring, special needs issues
The parenting coordination can also assist in improving communication to decrease conflict and help parents make difficult decisions. Ultimately, the goal is to provide parents with the knowledge and skills to learn to co-parent without conflict.
What Are The Types Of Parenting Coordination:
There are two types of Parenting Coordination:
- Mediation only: The Coordinator cannot make a final decision, if the parties cannot reach an agreement.
- Binding: If parties do not reach agreement, the Parenting Coordinator will decide the outstanding parenting issues. The parities typically enter into a Contract with the Parenting Coordinator agreeing the Coordinator has decision making powers, prior to discussing the issues with the Coordinator. The decisions made in this type of Parenting Coordination are binding and enforceable in court in accordance with the Arbitration Act of Alberta.
Why Choose Parenting Coordination?
There are many advantages to Parenting Coordination.
- It can address parenting issues as they arise and provide timely resolutions, usually much sooner than in court.
- The process is tailored to meet the needs of the family and can take place by telephone, email or videoconference, unlike formal court processes.
- The Parenting Coordinator gets to know the family and their history, which is instrumental in facilitating effective resolutions. This continuity is typically unavailable in the court process.
- It is usually much less expensive. Parents share the cost of a single Parenting Coordinator, rather than paying for 2 lawyers and court costs.
- Parenting Coordinators have specialized training in Parenting Coordination, Mediation, Arbitration, Interest-Based Negotiation and Child Psychology.
How Can Kahane Law Office Help?
The family law lawyers at Kahane Law Office are experienced in parenting issues. We understand the process options for resolution and the importance of choosing the right one for you. If you are in need of a Parenting Coordinator, please click here. For all other family resolution needs, please schedule an appointment with one of our family law lawyers by contacting our office today at 403-225-8810.