Parenting coordination is a post parenting plan, dispute resolution service for separated parents experiencing high
conflict dynamics. Parent Coordination services may be provided by a mental health professional or a lawyer with
training, expertise, and experience in the areas of separation/divorce, high conflict dynamics, child development,
parenting plans, family systems, family violence or power imbalances and the relevant legislation.
There are various models of Parenting Coordination. At Connections, parenting coordination services are offered on a limited basis, based upon overall file numbers. The model of parenting coordination involves two-professionals — A mental health professional and a lawyer — to appropriately satisfy the needs of the file, at the discretion of the mental health professional.
Most details of parenting children as separated parents are summarized in a comprehensive parenting plan, final court order, minutes of settlement, or final separation agreement however there are often details unanticipated at the time of finalizing the parenting document or decisions that arise in the future, which can present a significant amount of conflict between coparents. Parents can also face conflict about the interpretation of their parenting document. Research has shown that ongoing coparent conflict poses the most significant risk factor for children, often negatively impacting their emotional and psychological well-being. To manage this conflict, a parenting coordinator (PC) may be retained to assist coparents to implement, maintain and comply with their Parenting Plan as set out by their Court Order or Minutes of Settlement or other legal document. Parenting coordination (PC) may include elements of education and coaching, problem solving (mediation), and at times, decision-making (arbitration). A PC will aim to assist parents to minimize coparent conflict and promote more effective communication and problem-solving skills and encourage respectful interaction. Improvements in these areas will support the adjustment of their children to the separation.
In cases where there is a dispute and parents are unable to come to a mutual agreement during the mediation phase of the process, the PC has the authority to make a final and binding decision in keeping with the children’s best interests and in accordance with the Arbitration Act and the Family Statute Law Amendment Act. Based upon a number of factors, e.g., the nature of the required decision, the parenting coordinator may opt to pass the arbitration process to the lawyer, co-retained with her during the intake phase.