High Conflict Custody? Parent Coordination Could Be the Answer
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court to bring back parent coordination in child custody
In 2013, parent coordination was given the axe due to concerns that the parent coordination rules circumvented the due process rights of the parties in these custody proceedings. Also, there was concerns about the validity and enforceability of the decisions by the parent coordinator.
Parent coordinators were initially created to weed out high-conflict cases over issues of lower priority so that the Court’s docket was more manageable and resolution could be attained more expeditiously. When every case must appear before a Judge for resolution the system can be quite backlogged resulting in months of lag time before a resolution can be attained.
When the parent coordinator system was eliminated it also vacated any existing court orders on parent coordination and those cases were thrown back into the judicial system subject to adversarial hearings and long wait times from initiation to final order with increased litigation.
Recognizing the important utility of parent coordinators, the Supreme Court has reinvented the role of parent coordinators with an updated rule 1915.11 – 1 which is effective March 1st 2019. Under the new rule there are specific areas addressed such as the certification requirements of parent coordinators, the scope of the coordinators authority, guidelines on communication between the coordinator and the parties, the appointment and retention procedure for coordinators, and of crucial importance, the recommendation and appeal process of the parties.
By bringing back parent coordination the Supreme Court is revitalizing a necessary tool for the courts and attorneys and providing parties a better way to resolve simple but ongoing legal disputes.
Hopefully this time around the parent coordinators will have a long run and facilitate a faster, smoother system of resolution for high conflict custody matters.