This weekend the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts held it’s annual conference in Sydney and I attended an all-day workshop on Parenting Co-ordination that was run by two family law professionals from South Africa. There was also a panel discussion on Parenting Co-ordination on Saturday that was chaired by the former Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia Diana Bryant. The panellists included Parenting Co-ordination experts from South Africa, the USA and Australia.
Why the former Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia describes herself as a “cheerleader for Parenting Co-ordination.”
I had the pleasure of meeting with the Honourable Diana Bryant during the conference and she described to me how she was responsible for hearing many Contravention Applications when she was on the bench and that she would always ask the parents if they wanted the other parent punished or whether they would prefer that she fix the orders so they can get the issue resolved and move on and nine times out of ten parents would ask her to fix their orders. A Contravention Application is made by one parent when the other parent has breached the Parenting Orders.
She told me that she sees Parenting Co-ordination as being invaluable for parents as they could have disputes in regard to day to day parenting matters resolved by consulting with a Parenting Co-ordinator (PC) and they will not have to keep returning to court to “fix their Orders.” At the panel discussion she went on to describe herself as a “Cheerleader for Parenting Co-ordination“ and she stated that whilst it is important to have a focus on assisting parties to resolve disputes at the beginning of their matters she sees the importance of helping parents to resolve disputes after Orders have been made as well. She went on to say that “the Court gives a decision – it doesn’t resolve a dispute.” What this means is that parents are left with Orders and they have no idea as to how they can work together to implement what’s set out in the Orders. Courts are not able to teach parents the skills they need to help them peacefully co-parent and punishing a parent for breaching an Order is not the answer. This can lead to more conflict which affects the children.
What is Parenting-Co-ordination?
Parenting Co-ordination is a dispute resolution process that is focused on the children and a PC assists parents to implement what is set out in the Orders or Parenting Plan. A PC is appointed by the Court and plays the role of an educator, helping parents change the way they interact, improve communication and manage the conflict. It is not possible to envisage every situation that parents will encounter when co-parenting and there will often be gaps and Orders can be confusing. Parents are left with no option but to keep going back to court to resolve disputes that may arise due to the ambiguity.But more litigation does not help parents resolve the conflict. When a PC has been appointed, parents can call on the PC to help them resolve any disputes that may arise instead of having to go back to court
This service does not have to exclusively be directed to High Conflict parents. Sometimes the most reasonable people can have a disagreement over a simple issue which can lead to frustration and resentment that leads to conflict over time. It is my opinion that appointing a Parenting Co-ordinator should be the norm rather than the exception in all Parenting Orders. So when parents are at odds as to how to navigate a situation be it a question regarding school holidays, changeovers or who is to care for the children when they are ill, they can call on the PC.
If you need more information on how you can have a Parenting Co-ordinator appointed to assist your family please get in touch with us at https://www.divorceright.com.au/parenting-coordination/
Anne-Marie Cade’s Bio
Hi, I am Anne-Marie. I am also a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner / Nationally Accredited Mediator, Certified Divorce Coach, High Conflict Coach, Parent Coordinator and founder of Divorce Right.
I have created a revolutionary new way for clients to heal and get over divorce or break-up. I am passionate about family and relationships and I work with clients to empower them to improve communication, manage conflict and reach a peaceful, amicable separation, so they can successfully co-parent together. I incorporate mindfulness practices into my coaching and mediation sessions so my clients are able to get more centered and grounded and become more mindful about the decisions they make.
This unique method helps clients manage the conflict, re-frame their relationship with their partner and finalize all the paperwork so they can move on to the next chapter of your life. I believe that this approach will ensure a positive outcome for the family. I am currently working on my soon to be released book “Peaceful Divorce, Happy Kids.”
I offer 1-1 coaching programs, group coaching, online courses, workshops, and mediation services.