The Supreme Court Domestic Relations Procedural Rules Committee adopted new rules regarding parenting coordination that went into effect on March 1, 2019. Parenting coordination is a conflict-resolution process that helps families implement and comply with custody orders in order to reduce custody-related litigation.
Which Cases Need Parenting Coordinators?
Where parties in a custody case have frequent disagreements that are constantly being brought before the court, the court may appoint a parenting coordinator. These are high conflict cases where parties are constantly disagreeing on non-emergency issues and then seeking court intervention.
What Will the Parenting Coordinator Do?
The parenting coordinator will work with the parties to try to reach a resolution on the non-emergent issues. If the parenting coordinator is unable to get the parties to agree on how to resolve an issue, the parenting coordinator is given the authority to make his or her own decision on how to resolve the issue, thereby reducing the need for parties to litigate these matters in court.
What is the Benefit of a Parenting Coordinator?
The benefit to the parenting coordinator is speed and cost. The parenting coordinator can resolve and/or render a decision to resolve a custody dispute faster than if the matter had to be litigated in court. This in turn reduces the cost of having an attorney present to represent the parties during a hearing before the judge.
Are there Specific Issues that the Parenting Coordinator Can Decide?
The parenting coordinator can attempt to resolve parenting issues that include, but are not limited to:
- Places and conditions for custodial transitions between households
- Temporary variation from the custodial schedule for a special event or particular circumstance
- School issues, apart from school selection
- Children’s participation in recreation, enrichment, and extracurricular activities, including travel
- Child care arrangements
- Clothing, equipment, toys, and personal possessions of the children
- Information exchanges between the parties and communication with or about the children
- Coordination of existing or court-ordered services for the children, such as psychological services
- Behavioral management of the children
- Any other related custody issues that the parties mutually have agreed in writing to submit to the parenting coordinator, except for those that are specifically excluded from the parenting coordinator’s scope of authority
Which Issues are Outside of the Parenting Coordinator’s Scope of Authority?
- The parenting coordinator is unable to decide the following:
- A change in legal custody as set forth in the custody order
- A change in primary physical custody as set forth in the custody order
- A change in the court-ordered custody schedule that reduces or expands the children’s time with a party, except for temporary changes due to events
- A change in residence of the children (i.e. relocation)
- Financial issues, other than the allocation of the parenting coordinator’s fees
- Major decisions affecting the health, education, or religion of the children
- And any other issues limited by the appointing judge
Are Conversations with the Parenting Coordinator Kept Confidential?
No. Communication between the parties or the parties’ attorneys and the parenting coordinator are not kept confidential. Also, any information that is provided by one party to the parenting coordinator, must be made available for the other party for inspection and copying.
If you recently had a parenting coordinator appointed to your case, or have additional questions, please contact the Law Offices of Peter J. Russo, P.C. to speak to one of our family law attorneys.