Understanding Parenting Co-Ordination

What is Parenting Co-Ordination (PC)?

Parenting Coordination is a child centered process for conflicted divorced and divorcing parents. It is a form of dispute resolution for parents to help them arrange their ongoing parenting arrangements before, during and after they have reached their final Court Orders. Through education, mediation and case management, the family’s progress, post-separation, is monitored to assist the parents to ensure the best possible outcomes for their children.

Can a parenting coordinator help?

Following a parenting plan after a divorce or separation can be difficult. A parenting agreement has been settled. Now what? Have the conflicts with the other parent regarding the children suddenly stopped just because you have your agreement? How about communication; did the agreement you signed make it so that you and the other parent magically start effectively communicating? Likely not. Many parents have no real idea what shared parenting is much less how to incorporate it in their day-to-day lives. Quite often it is rarely the big, life-altering issues that cause the greatest amount of conflict between parents. The majority of conflicts are over altering agreed upon drop-off times, change-over locations or changing timesharing schedules.

A parenting coordinator may be able to help you and the other parent with just these type of issues. Parenting coordinators help parents by initially assisting them with reaching agreements about these ad hoc issues and ultimately teaching them how to make decisions together and reduce daily conflict over ordinary decisions. By assisting parents in resolving these issues, parenting coordinators can reduce and often eliminate much of the lawyer involvement that often occurs with the ongoing parental conflict, saving the parents time and money.

Parenting Coordinators assist parents establish and maintain a healthy co-parenting relationship by reducing parental conflict and the risk factors that influence a child’s post-divorce adjustment. The overall emphasis is to offer children the opportunity to grow in a home environment free from the devastating stress of being caught in the middle of parental conflict.

Benefits of Parenting Co-Ordination

Benefits Children by:

  • Enhancing the child’s confidence and self-esteem by creating an optimal environment for growth.
  • Reducing the child’s symptoms of stress as parental conflict decreases.
  • Diminishing the child’s sense of loyalty binds.
  • Increasing the likelihood of keeping two active parents in the child’s life.
  • Creating a more relaxed home atmosphere allowing the child to adjust more effectively.

Benefits Parents by:

  • Educating parents regarding the impact of parental conflict on the child’s development.
  • Teaching parents anger management, communication and conflict resolution skills, and children’s issues in divorce.
  • Working with parents in developing a detailed parenting plan.

Benefits Families by:

  • Reducing the number of litigated cases.
  • Communicating to parents that the children come first.
  • Offering families a valuable resource.
  • Providing prompt resolution to daily child-rearing issues.
  • Monitoring parental compliance with the court orders (if any).
  • Reducing the overall conflict that the entire family experiences when parents cannot get along, cannot make decisions or cannot communicate. This benefits the most defenseless victims of high conflict parenting: the children.

How does it work?

  • The parents and the PC sign an agreement noting the terms of the engagement, the process and the expectations of the engagement
  • The parents share equally the cost of all communications with the PC. This is charged per hour, pro rata. Sometimes, only a small amount of time is used to reach an agreement about an issue that is raised
  • Either parent can contact the PC with a concern or difficulty, and the PC will communicate with the other parent about these issues in an attempt to reach a timely resolution
  • The PC is available 24/7 for emergencies involving the children
  • The PC will educate the parents on how to begin to manage this process themselves so that eventually the parents can disengage the PC and manage their co-parenting themselves.


© Anne Purcell PhD, Principal Resolution Partners and Co-founder of Parenting Coordination Australia. This article was originally published by Resolution Partners: https://www.resolutionpartners.com.au/understanding-parenting-co-ordination/