Four Local Pennsylvania Counties Enact Parenting Coordinator Rules
December 17, 2019 – King of Prussia, PA – Montgomery County joins other surrounding counties in Pennsylvania in enacting parenting coordination in their local rules. The other three nearby counties involved in this family law endeavor are Bucks, Chester, and Philadelphia. Some differences exist in exactly how the counties will run their parenting coordination programs, but they are all based on the statewide rule that went into effect on March 1, 2019. That statewide rule left it up to individual counties to decide whether or not to enact a parenting coordination program, and if so, permitted the counties to make certain decisions about their program, such as the fees for related services and how attorneys can be added to the roster of parenting coordinators that can be appointed by the court.
Parenting Coordination is a process whereby a neutral third party is appointed to help resolve discrete issues between parties in a custody case. In 2013, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court eliminated parenting coordination altogether, due in large part to the lack of uniformity between different counties in how it was being used. However, in 2018, the court issued a new rule, reinstating the practice in Pennsylvania and setting a statewide standard for how it should work.
The new ruling emphasizes that parenting coordination is to be used sparingly, rather than for every case. A judge may appoint a parenting coordinator after a final custody order, “to resolve parenting issues involving repeated or intractable conflict between the parties affecting implementation of the final custody order.” The rule also made changes to the scope of authority, communication restrictions, and recommendations and appeals in the parenting coordination process.
Many family law attorneys and jurists believe that the reintroduction of parenting coordination in Pennsylvania can improve the resolutions of minor custody disputes in a more efficient and cost-effective way.
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