PARENTING COORDINATION

What is Parenting Coordination?

It is a  dispute resolution  process focused on the children. It is a child-centered process where both parents work collaboratively with a single neutral third party. We use a mixture of education and coaching to teach parents the skills to better manage their co-parenting relationship thereby reducing the amount of conflict that a family is experiencing. It is a process where we work with parents to help them focus on the needs of the children rather than their own anger. It may also include email monitoring and coaching on how to improve communication and manage the conflict. It teaches parents how to make decisions about the children together. The focus is on the well-being of the child and to lower everyone’s stress levels.

Most often divorce is a time when parents go through heightened emotions, anger, conflict, sadness, depression and anxiety. These negative emotions are often heightened by the adversarial/court process. Parents find that it very difficult to manage the co-parenting relationship post-divorce and the conflict continues for many years. This can affect children.

The parents may have agreed on a plan when they finalized their divorce but it does not mean that there won’t be continuing arguments and disagreements regarding parenting arrangements. The conflict and disagreements don’t magically stop because a parenting agreement has been reached. Many parents have no idea what shared parenting is like and the slightest disagreement over the most trivial issue can cause ongoing conflict between the parties.

How is Parenting Coordination different from Mediation or Family Dispute Resolution?

Parenting Coordination is not a process that is used to develop a parenting plan. A Parenting Coordinator works within the bounds of existing agreements and/or Court orders. These existing agreements and/or Court orders cannot be altered by the Parenting Coordinator. Unlike mediation which is a confidential process, Parenting Coordination is a non- confidential process and both parents are held accountable  for the way they act  to ensure that there is progress.

What a Parenting Coordinator is not

A Parenting Coordinator does not replace your lawyer, your Mediator, the Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, the counsellor, the Family Report Writer.

Why should we use a Parenting Coordinator?

Parenting Coordination is an excellent alternative to assist parents to manage the conflict after the court orders have been made.  Disagreements over things that seem small and inconsequential like bedtime, snack options, play time, study time can lead to bigger issues and impact the parenting relationship. These disputes don’t require lawyers and mediators but rather they require a professional to help the parents make good decisions for their kids, and even sometimes an umpire to make the final decision. Parenting coordination can assist parents who run into day to day disputes so they don’t have to keep returning to court whenever there is a dispute and they are not able to reach an agreement.

When parents use the services of a Parenting Coordinator, these services can assist families to:

  • Reduce the level of stress and conflict.
  • Create co-parenting agreements that work for the family even in high-conflict situations
  • If there is an impasse, they are taught the skills to better manage their communication thereby ensuring that timely decisions are made.
  • Help parents avoid fights and protracted litigation.
  • Ensures that the children are not stressed and are able to move freely between two homes and feel safe and secure.
  • Ensures that the parents both continue to play an active role in the children’s lives.
  • Ensures that there is a more relaxed home atmosphere, so the children feel happy and secure.

Who are Parenting Coordinators?

Parenting Coordinators are qualified professionals  and can be either lawyers or social scientists who have undertaken specialised training as Parenting Coordinators.

Anne-Marie Cade is a Parenting Coordinator based in Melbourne , Victoria and is available to work with families in person or online. She is trained as a Parenting Coordinator by the High Conflict Diversion Institute. She is also a Nationally Accredited Mediator, Registered Family Dispute Resolution, a Divorce and Parenting Coach and a Collaborative Family lawyer. She has also completed a Master of Laws in Family Law and Dispute Resolution.

She is available for Parenting Coordination across Victoria including Melbourne, Geelong, Frankston, Mornington, Bendigo and Ballarat and online via video-conferencing.

Jennifer Hetherington has many years of experience as an experienced Collaborative Lawyer, Nationally Accredited Mediator and a Registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner.
She is also trained in Parenting Coordination by Parenting Coordination Australia under the guidelines of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC). She is an Accredited Family Law Specialist and holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Graduate Diploma – Family Dispute Resolution Practice. Having worked with families for many years Jennifer sees the benefits for families who work with a Parenting Coordinator.
Jennifer is available for Parenting Coordination in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney and Melbourne and online via video-conferencing.

When should we use a Parenting Coordinator?

Using a Parenting Coordinator is an alternative path for parents to resolve their co-parenting issues outside of the courtroom. A Parenting Coordinator may be ordered by the court or agreed to in some instances when parents are unable to reach agreement on the implementation of what is set out in the parenting orders, or the schedule needs to be adjusted, or there are disagreements about the duties and responsibilities of the parents as set out in the orders or if you are just not able to have a civil conversation with your former partner about parenting the kids.

I work with parents on an on-going basis after the divorce is all finalized and help them establish and maintain a healthy co-parenting relationship.

How much does Parenting Coordination cost?

The sessions that a Parenting Coordinator has with the parents is usually around 90 minutes each month for a period of up to 2 years.  The process can be terminated earlier if the parties agree to an early termination.

A Parenting Coordinator can be appointed by a Judge either on Application or by agreement in an order or parenting plan.

Each Parenting Coordination session costs $250 plus GST per parent. If a session is cancelled  without sufficient notice the full fee will be payable to ensure the other parent is not financially disadvantaged.

How do I appoint a Parenting Coordinator?

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