A Parenting Coordinator (PC) is a mental health expert, attorney, or other expert appointed by the Court after final parenting orders are entered. A PC can meet with the parties and attempt to resolve parenting issues as they arise. Examples of such issues are numerous; i.e. where the children go to school, the effect of new significant others on the children, continued communication problems between the parents, vacation and travel disputes, enforcement of parenting time issues, inappropriate parenting complaints, and essentially any other issues that directly or indirectly involve the children.
Generally, a PC attempts to guide and assist the parents in reaching an agreement on how issues are to be addressed. The PC is much more than a mediator however. The PC has the authority to make decisions and/or recommendations to the Court regarding the various parenting issues. A PC can be an invaluable resource to assist parties who are unable to communicate or resolve ongoing issues.
A PC generally does not have the authority to recommend significant changes in decision making or parenting time. If a party desires an expert’s input regarding significant legal decision making or parenting time changes, a comprehensive family evaluation, limited focus assessment or Parenting Conference is generally required.
Pursuant to recent changes to Rule 72 of the Arizona Rules of Family Court Procedure, a Parenting Coordinator can only be appointed by agreements of the parties.