What is a Parenting Coordinator?
A parenting coordinator is an impartial third party appointed in the context of ongoing litigation and/or upon final judgment who provides non-adversarial dispute resolution services to parents in high-conflict cases to enable them to reach decisions and reduce the impact of conflict on their children. The Standing Order governing parenting coordination can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/probate-and-family-court-rules/probate-and-family-court-standing-order-1-17-parenting-coordination.
The role played by a parenting coordinator depends on the terms of his or her appointment, which is defined by written agreement of the parties and/or court order. A parenting coordinator may facilitate communication between the parents, assist in defining and/or making minor modifications to a parenting plan, and providing guidance when parties are at an impasse regarding a particular decision. It is never appropriate for a parenting coordinator to perform judicial functions (beyond his or her limited delegated authority), such as deciding legal or physical custody arrangements. In the event of a dispute that the parenting coordinator is unable to resolve between the parties, the parenting coordinator can make a written decision that is binding on the parties and has the effect of a court order. Either party retains the right to have that decision reviewed by a judge in court.