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Parenting Coordination

What is it?

Parenting coordination is a process by which a neutral third party helps opposing parties in a custody matter resolve certain custody-related issues. The current version of the parenting coordination statute, found at Pa.R.C.P. 1915.11-1, came into effect on March 1, 2019.

What Sort of Issues Can a Parenting Coordinator Help Resolve?

Parenting coordination is not intended to supplant a custody conciliation or a custody trial. Instead, it is meant to help resolve issues such as child care arrangements, how the parties communicate important information about their child(ren), their child(ren)’s participation in extracurricular activities, and similar issues (see Pa.R.C.P. 1915.11-1(d) for a longer, but not exhaustive, list of matters).

Changes to legal custody and physical custody (other than temporary changes, such as vacation time or special events) cannot be made through the parenting coordination process.[1] Similarly, major decisions that affect the child(ren)’s health, education, or religion cannot be made through this process, nor can a decision to relocate the child(ren) which will materially affect the other party’s custodial rights.[2] Financial decisions, aside from payment of the parenting coordinator’s fees, are also foreclosed from being decided by a parenting coordinator.[3]

Who are the parenting coordinators?

A parenting coordinator must be either an attorney licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, or a mental health professional with a Master’s degree or higher.[4] Parenting coordinators are required to have at least five years of experience in family law or in psychiatry, psychology, counseling, family therapy, or another comparable behavioral or social science field.[5] They must also complete specialized training by an approved provider, complete continuing education requirements, and be appointed by a county judge.[6]

Attorney Tabetha Tanner has been appointed as a Parenting Coordinator in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania and would be happy to discuss her services with you, should the conciliator or judge in your case determine that parenting coordination may be beneficial.

[1] Pa.R.C.P. 1915.11-1(d)(2)

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Pa.R.C.P. 1915.11-1(b)

[5] Pa.R.C.P. 1915.11-1(b)(1)

[6] Pa.R.C.P. 1915.11-1(b)(1)(ii), (b)(1)(ii)(D), and (b)(2)(ii)