What is a Parenting Coordinator/Decision-Maker?
A parenting coordinator is a specially trained neutral third party available to assist in the resolution of disputes between the parties concerning parental responsibilities. However, a parenting coordinator may only be appointed after the entry of an order concerning parental responsibilities.
The parenting coordinator may be appointed by agreement of the parties, upon a motion by either party, or the court may appoint one on its own motion. Unless the parties agree to the appointment of a parenting coordinator, a court is required to consider three factors:
- That the parties have failed to adequately implement the parenting plan;
- The parties have attempted mediation unsuccessfully, or, the court determines that mediation would be inappropriate; and
- The appointment of a parenting coordinator is in the best interests of the child.
There is no set time that a parenting coordinator must serve for; however, he/she may not be appointed for a period lasting more than two (2) years.
A Parenting Coordinator Has Significant Authority
However, a parenting coordinator/decision maker has the authority to issue orders as does a judge. Similar to the parenting coordinator, the PC/DM is only appointed after the entry of an order concerning parental responsibilities. Unlike the parenting coordinator, the PC/DM has binding authority to resolve disputes between the parties as to the implementation or clarification of existing orders.
Any court order appointing a PC/DM shall be for a set time, but shall not be for a period longer than two years. All decisions entered into by the PC/DM must be in writing, dated, and signed by the PC/DM. However, a party may move the court to conduct a hearing on the issues. However, if the court upholds the decision entered into by the PC/DM, then the party who requested the hearing is responsible for any associated fees and costs.
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