Parenting coordination is a post parenting plan, dispute resolution service for separated parents experiencing high conflict. 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 families, child development, parenting plans, family systems, family violence or power imbalances and the relevant legislation.
Many details of parenting children as separated parents are summarized in a final Court order, Minutes of Settlement, or final separation agreement however there are often small day-to-day matters that can present a significant amount of conflict between the co-parents. Research has shown that it is this type of inter-parental conflict that has the most harmful effects on children’s emotional and psychological well-being. To manage this conflict, a parenting coordinator (PC) assists co-parents to implement, maintain and comply with their Parenting Plan as set out by their Court Order or Minutes of Settlement. Parenting Coordination 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 coparental conflict by promoting more effective communication and problem-solving skills and encouraging respectful interaction, factors that 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 problem-solving phase of the intervention, the PC has the authority to make a final and binding decision in keeping with the children’s best interests as per the Arbitration Act and the Family Statute Law Amendment Act. Alternatively, effective in the fall of 2014, the PC at Connections has the discretion to call upon the involvement of a neutral co-retained family law lawyer to fulfill the arbitration function.