Parent Coordination

Overview

The primary goals of parent coordination are to provide parents with a forum for resolving child-related disputes outside of the courtroom and to help parents focus on the needs of the child(ren) instead of their parental conflict.  The duties of a parent coordinator include providing parents with problem solving and conflict management services, helping parents implement and clarify the parenting plan, monitoring compliance with court orders, and providing parents, attorneys and the court with recommendations for new or modified parenting time provisions as necessary.  The role of parenting facilitation or coordination is undertaken only after I receive copies of a signed court order.  The specific duties may vary in different families depending on how the order defines my role.  It is most helpful if the court order is specific about my role and my duties.  This process differs from both therapy and mediation—there is no therapist/client privilege, the process is not confidential and insurance companies generally do not offer reimbursement for parent coordination.

Usually the court order that provides for the duties of the parent coordinator also provides for the use of the court, if necessary, to resolve disputes that the coordinator cannot resolve with the parents.

Appointments

The initial intake for parent coordination services is to meet with each parent separately for an initial one hour visit to determine whether the family is a likely candidate for parent coordination services, as not all families benefit from this role.  If I determine that the parents would benefit from parent coordination services, additional appointments will be scheduled.  Based on the individual issues of the family, we sometimes meet separately beyond the first visit.  Other services in addition to appointments may include email monitoring, monitoring of drug and alcohol tests, or coordination with other services for the children, such as therapy or medical needs.

Cancellation

If you cannot keep your appointment, it will be your responsibility to cancel 24 hours ahead of time.  If you do not cancel within 24 hours of your appointment, you will be charged a $50 late cancellation fee.  Repeat late cancellations will incur a full fee charge for the appointment.  In addition, if you miss a scheduled appointment, you will be billed solely for the full fee charge for the appointment.

Please make every effort to be on time for your appointments.  If you arrive late, you will still be seen, but the session will end at the allotted time, and you will be billed for the entire appointment.

Payment

My hourly rate is $200 for all services except court testimony/deposition, which is billed at $300 per hour.  With parent coordination cases, a $600 deposit is required ($300 per parent if fees are being divided equally).  This deposit must be paid in full prior to scheduling appointments.  The $600 balance must be maintained from month to month.  Monthly payments should be made by the 20th of every month to pay off the previous month’s services performed.  If payment is not received promptly, then the attorneys will be notified, and this may reflect poorly on the parents’ ability or willingness to work together or cooperate with the court order.

If the determination is made that the family is not an appropriate candidate for parent coordination services, a refund will be generated, less time spent for any appointments, consultations, preparation of reports/emails, or other work performed on behalf of the family.

The fees will be divided between the parents according to the arrangements specified in the court order.  Letters, email exchanges, phone consultations and other case related services will be billed at $200 per hour.  Routine email monitoring will be billed at a rate of $40 per month.  If during the routine email monitoring there is a need for me to reply or provide additional information, that will incur additional fees.  At times some fees may be assigned to one parent if that parent is generating services.

When situations require extensive administrative time regarding unique difficulties, numerous phone calls, letter writing, and/or consultation with others, there will be a charge for that time.  If there is a decision from either parent to withdraw from parent coordination, fees may be charged for administrative expenses incurred for the initial phase of my office’s involvement of not less than $150.

Disclosure of Information

Parent coordination is not confidential.  The usual confidentiality guidelines as applied to protected health information do not apply.  In order to fulfill my duties as a parent coordinator, I will communicate with the court and with all attorneys involved in your case.  I will also, at times, communicate with therapists, teachers, physicians, law enforcement officials and other professionals who have relevant information about parent or child functioning.  As part of this process, parents must sign all releases necessary to obtain information from these professionals.

Summary

Parent coordination provides a positive structure for resolving conflicts, monitoring the progress of parenting time and teaching parents more about cooperative communication.  The above outlined structure is an attempt to describe the basic format of the parenting coordination, but the actual process is much more fluid and responsive to your individual family’s needs.  The process attempts to help parents focus on their children and the future in positive cooperative ways.