Whilst the concept of co-parenting is not new, there has been a move towards parents engaging a Parenting Coordinator to assist them to navigate and hopefully resolve issues that arise in relation to parenting arrangements. The use of a Parenting Coordinator has been gaining popularity in recent years, with the aim being to reduce conflict between parents and assist them with managing their co-parenting responsibilities, including after the matter has been to Court. In this article, we explore what a Parenting Coordinator is and how it can help you with your family law matter.

What is parenting coordination?

The primary aim of a Parenting Coordinator is to minimise ongoing parenting conflict, and so parents can focus on the needs of the child/ren, by supporting and educating them on ways to resolve any disputes that arise following interim and/or final orders being made in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCOA).  

It is a service that can be engaged (in addition to mediation or other forms of family dispute resolution), and where parents may be referred to a Parenting Coordinator by an order made in parenting proceedings in the  (FCFCOA) to assist parents to navigate and follow Court Orders. In addition, it can be undertaken outside the court system by parents themselves in an effort to reach a Parenting Plan.  

How it works

Not to be confused with a mediator or dispute resolution practitioner, a Parenting Coordinator acts as an ‘umpire’ between parents, helping them to reach mutual decisions amicably in the best interests of their child/ren, with a view to try to avoid the matter needing to be litigated in the FCFCOA or an application being brought in the FCFCOA by one parent after orders have been made.  

A Parenting Coordinator can be available after hours and at short notice to help parents make quick day-to-day decisions, in line with any Orders, such as drop-off times for the child/ren, changeover locations, schedules, and anything that requires implementation of the parenting arrangement and/or court orders in place.

At the same time, Parenting Coordinators can assist parents with communication, conflict resolution and anger management strategies, in order to reduce the ongoing conflict and stress that can often arise from co-parenting situations.

Parenting Coordinators are qualified and certified professionals (usually with prior experience as lawyers or social scientists) who have been trained in Parenting Coordination.  They can be engaged both before, during and after final Court Orders are put in place, however it is important to note that, if there are parenting orders or a parenting plan in place, the Parenting Coordinator does not have the power to amend or change Court orders, rather they simply help the parents work together to adhere to the orders.

The process also operates differently to court-ordered mediation or dispute resolution, whereby parenting coordination is not a confidential process and a Parenting Coordinator can be compelled to produce their notes and/or give evidence on a parents’ behaviour if required by the FCFCOA.  

Parenting Coordinators are often used in situations where there is a history of high ongoing conflict about parenting decisions and it’s another method used to resolve the matters in a collaborative and amicable way, to avoid further impact on the child/ren of the relationship.

If you would like to learn more about the process, visit the Parenting Coordination Australia website.  

Need assistance with your family law matter?

If you would like assistance in understanding dispute resolution avenues available to you or you have recently separated and require legal advice, our experienced and friendly Sydney Family Lawyers are here to help. Call us on 02 9262 4003 for a confidential discussion or submit an online enquiry.

The content of this article is intended as a general guide to the subject matter. For specific legal advice about your individual circumstances, please contact our experienced lawyers.