A number of Ohio courts are currently using parenting coordination. However, since no state-wide rules or standards currently govern parenting coordination, its use can differ from court-to-court. As a result of the lack of uniform standards, the Supreme Court’s Dispute Resolution Section and its former Advisory Committee on Dispute Resolution have developed the new Parenting Coordination Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio, effective April 1, 2014. These rules will ensure that parties are best served by courts developing high-quality programs; appointing qualified professionals; and complying with nationally recognized guidelines published by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC).
|PARENTING COORDINATION DEFINITION:
Sup. R. 90 defines parenting coordination as “a child-focused dispute resolution process…to assist parties in implementing a parental rights and responsibilities or companionship time order using assessment, education, case management, conflict management, coaching, or decision-making.”
Sup. R. 90(C) defines parenting coordination as “a child-focused dispute resolution process…to assist parties in implementing a parental rights and responsibilities or companionship time order using assessment, education, case management, conflict management, coaching, or decision-making.”
The rules provide parenting coordinators with standards regarding authority, qualifications, and responsibilities. There are also provisions for the confidentiality, privilege, and public access to parenting coordinator files. Courts may create by local rule requirements above and beyond those prescribed in the Rules of Superintendence.
Although parenting coordinators are required to have extensive mediation training, apply mediation skills and have decision-making authority, they are not mediators or arbitrators under the rules. Therefore, mediation and arbitration rules and statutes do not apply. A parenting coordinator’s decision-making authority is prescribed in the appointment order. Mediators may serve as the parenting coordinator for the same case, provided there is written consent by the parties and approval by the court to ensure the parties understand the role change. This deviation from the AFCC national guidelines meets the needs of rural counties that may have limited qualified dispute resolution professionals.
Due to the nature of cases appropriate for parenting coordination, it is imperative for parenting coordinators to have specific education, experience, and training to effectively assist parties. The training requirements mirror those of a family court mediator with an additional twelve hours of specialized training in parenting coordination.
Source: Excerpts taken from The Supreme Court of Ohio’s Parenting Coordination Toolkit, https://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/JCS/disputeResolution/resources/parentingCoord/toolkit.pdf