Parenting coordinators are professionals who can help you resolve day-to-day conflicts about parenting agreements or parenting orders.
Parenting agreements and orders don't usually include all the details about parenting, such as a detailed schedule for parenting time or contact with a child. This can lead to questions and disagreements about how the agreement or order should work.
How parenting coordinators help
Parenting coordinators don't help you come up with a parenting agreement or order. Instead they can help you settle disagreements that come up about how to carry out your agreement or order.
They can help you resolve disputes about parental responsibilities, such as:
- Education (such as the child's attendance at a new school)
- Medical and dental issues
- Pick-up and drop-off time and location for visits with the child
- Travel and holidays with the child
- Clothing and style (such as the child wanting body piercing)
- Diet (such as the child wanting to become a vegetarian)
- Extracurricular activities
Parenting coordinators can also:
- help you make guidelines about how to communicate and carry out your agreement;
- help you identify and create strategies for resolving conflicts; and
- give you information about how to improve your communication and parenting skills.
Finding a parenting coordinator
Parenting coordinators must have specific training and experience. You can find the name of a qualified parenting coordinator on the BC Parenting Coordination website.
Paying for a parenting coordinator
There's no government funding for parenting coordinators. You and the other parent or guardian will be responsible for paying the parenting coordinator and will have to work out the payment arrangements between you.
You and the other parent or guardian can agree to appoint a parenting coordinator as part of your agreement. A court can also order that a parenting coordinator be appointed.
A parenting coordinator can be appointed to act for up to two years. The agreement or order can say the parenting coordinator will act for a shorter period of time, but two years is the maximum.
Either parent can contact the parenting coordinator when a disagreement or question comes up about the agreement or order. The parenting coordinator will talk to both parents and try to mediate a resolution.
If you can't resolve the conflict through mediation, the parenting coordinator makes a decision called a determination. This determination must be in writing. It's binding — you and other guardian must follow it. Either parent or guardian can file the determination with the court. It's then enforced like a court order.
The parenting coordinator doesn't replace a judge and can only make determinations that fit within your agreement or order.
If another issue arises, either parent can ask the parenting coordinator to help resolve it.
Changing a determination
If you're unhappy with the parenting coordinator's determination, you can apply to court to have the determination changed or set aside. The court will make an order only if:
- the parenting coordinator's determination is outside his or her authority (doesn't fit with the agreement); or
- the parenting coordinator made a mistake about the law or about how the facts and law work together.
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