1. Decide if you should use parenting coordination

What is parenting coordination?
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1. Decide if you should use parenting coordination

There are many reasons why people use parenting coordination. And there are also reasons why they don't. Think about these reasons and then decide if you want to try parenting coordination.

Reasons to use parenting coordination

Some of the reasons to use parenting coordination are:

  • You get professional help that you may need even after you have a court order, family arbitration award, or separation agreement on parenting issues. Children's needs and issues often change as they get older. A parenting coordinator can help parents who find it hard to communicate with each other and want to set up a process for how they will resolve future issues.
  • It can be faster than going to court once you have agreed on all of the process details and signed a parenting coordination agreement.
  • It can be cheaper than going to court to resolve minor parenting issues.

Parenting coordination also gives you control over the process. You can decide things like:

  • who to hire as your parenting coordinator
  • timelines for making decisions
  • how private or confidential the process will be.

Open parenting coordination usually means that anyone – including a parent or the parenting coordinator – can give evidence in court about what happened during the process.

Closed parenting coordination usually means that what happens at your meetings is private or confidential.

You can say which process you want to use in your parenting coordination agreement. You can also say that some things are private but other things are not. For example, you can say things like:

  • whether a parent can say what happened during parenting coordination if you later go to court
  • whether the parenting coordinator may prepare a report that gives details on why or how they made their decision
  • whether the parenting coordinator can be called as a witness in court

Parenting coordination in Ontario is usually open because most parenting coordinators and parents want a judge to know what was said if they need the judge's help later.

An open process may be more expensive depending on what the parenting coordinator does if the case goes to court. For example, you usually pay your parenting coordinator by the hour so it will cost more if they write a report and go to court as a witness.

Sometimes parenting coordination is closed to encourage the parents to resolve their issues without worrying that a judge will know what they said in parenting coordination.

Reasons not to use parenting coordination

Some of the reasons not to use parenting coordination are:

  • You need to have a court order, family arbitration award, or separation agreement before you can work with a parenting coordinator. Some parents don’t have this yet.
  • Although it can be faster than going to court once you have signed a parenting coordination agreement, parents have to first agree on all the details.
  • Although it can be cheaper than going to court, you have to pay the parenting coordinator. Most parents share this cost. The cost depends on how much you use the parenting coordinator.
  • A parenting coordinator usually requires the parents to agree to use their services for at least several months. You may not need much help during this time, or you may need a lot of help. But you have to agree in advance to hire the parenting coordinator for a set period of time.
     

    During this time, your agreement may allow the parents or parenting coordinator to stop the process. But one parent alone cannot usually decide to stop the process if they are not happy with it.

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Ministry of the Attorney General
Reviewed: July 31, 2017

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