A parenting coordinator (PC) is a person selected by the parties and/or appointed by the family court to assist parties in resolving parenting disputes without court involvement. The recent Bower case in Massachusetts substantively limits the court’s ability to appoint a parenting coordinator without the consent of both parents. After Bowers, if a family court judge does appoint a parenting coordinator, the payment of the PC’s fees cannot be distributed between the parties absent an agreement, and the powers of the PC may be limited.
PC is a professional individual who has experience working with complicated family matters. They can be an attorney, a child psychologist, a psychiatrist, or other similar professional. A PC’s job is to help resolve conflicts that arise in the implementation of custody and visitation arrangements in a manner that reduces the impact of the parents’ conflict on their children.
A PC may act in many different roles while working with the parents. The can help monitor the case, mediate disagreements, help educate the parents, facilitate effective communication, and if necessary and agreed to between the parties, make binding decisions on issues that cannot be resolved by the parents. If a PC is authorized to enter binding decisions, either parent usually has the ability to request a review of the PC’s decisions in family court.
A parenting coordinator can be effective in “high-conflict” cases. Parties are free to choose their own parenting coordinators. Attorney Meredith Caradimos is a certified parenting coordinator, so if you are considering hiring or having a PC involved in your current case, contact our office or another experienced family law attorney that is certified as a parenting coordinator right away.