Issues such as the Christmas vacation schedule, whether Sally goes to the Flames game with her hockey team, or who the children will be with on Halloween, can be very important to the family, but these issues are not what the judicial system is designed to address, and these are probably not the things you wanted to deal with when you decided to study law.
Litigation has its place in some situations, and on some issues, but in family law, many, many issues are brought to lawyers and the courts that have nothing to do with law. The reason this happens is because parents have not had anywhere else to turn when an impasse was reached on family issues.
When the day-to-day issues for families are not addressed, they accumulate and lead to an escalation in the conflict, which results in a deleterious impact on the children. When parents ask you to help them with a particular issue that seems trivial, it's gotten to that point because a multitude of other small things have not been adequately addressed. It's like having an injured elbow, even the rub of a shirt sleeve can be excruciatingly painful.
When your clients have a co-parenting coordinator in place, you continue in your prominent position in the divorce process as their lawyer, but without the headaches, and without the Christmas rush.
You do what you thought you'd be doing when you went to law school, and the co-parenting coordinator takes the calls from frantic parents. How does that sound?
Co-parenting coordination is an open process and there will be dialogue and correspondence between the co-parenting coordinator and the lawyers. The co-parenting coordinator will also facilitate the communication and collective efforts of all professionals involved with the family.
Note that a co-parenting coordinator can be an important adjunct to collaborative divorce, and he or she can be a key player in a team supported divorce arrangement that may not be adhering to all of the parameters of collaborative divorce.
What can you do as a lawyer?
Lawyers are the primary players in the divorce process and have the biggest influence on it.
If you recommend co-parenting coordination to your clients, they will use it. This is particularly true in communities where there is a Canadian Co-Parenting Centre providing co-parenting coordination and other services at an affordable rate.
Our hope is that this website will provide you with a thorough understanding of co-parenting coordination and a clear insight into the ways that it benefits everyone.
The on-line library has a considerable amount of reference material and most published articles are written with the legal community as the intended audience. As a starting point, Bartlett (2004) gives a good introduction, and Rotman (2004) is succinct and the most suitable one to provide to judges.
(See below for a link to, and a brief description of, both of these articles.)
For additional information, and a compilation of information that is specific to Canada, please review the Canadian Co-parenting Coordinators Association's website, www.parentcoordinators.ca.
This article gives a thorough description of the parenting coordination process in Oklahoma. It defines what parenting coordination is and briefly describes the process. It identifies the roles of the parenting coordinator and outlines Oklahoma's approach qualifications. With respect to the power/authority of the parenting coordinator it gives some history and then describes how it is presently specified. It also describes the process of appointing a parenting coordinator. It then describes the process of parenting coordination in greater detail and includes information on how decisions are handled, termination of the process, fees, immunity, other uses, and constitutionality. It also gives recommendations on how to get a program started.
Rotman, A. (2004). Parenting coordination: Facts & pending legislation. Family Mediation Quarterly, Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation, 3(1), 17-22.
Written by a retired judge, this article briefly describes what parenting coordination is and why it is needed. It then identifies why legislation is needed and describes the provisions of the proposed legislation. It addresses issues of testimonial privilege and enforcement of a parenting coordinator's decisions. It briefly notes what is happening nationally and what was happening locally at the time. It includes the Parenting Coordination Bill.