A Parenting Referee? Parenting Coordination Added to The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines
On September 2, 2016, the Indiana Supreme Court amended the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines to include Section V., Parenting Coordination. Section V defines parenting coordination as "a court ordered, child-focused dispute resolution process in which a Parenting Coordinator ("PC") is appointed to assist high conflict parties by accessing and managing conflicts, redirecting the focus of the parties to the needs of the child, and educating the parties on how to make decisions that are in the best interest of the child."
Parenting coordination has existed in Indiana for a number of years, but until now there were no court-adopted rules to govern how the parenting coordination process worked or who may serve as a PC.
Among other details Section V, includes:
- A PC must be court-ordered and is for 'high-conflict parties';
- Section V only applies to appointments made after January 1, 2017, and does not modify an existing parenting coordination order;
- A PC shall be a registered Indiana Domestic Relations Mediator, with additional training or experience in parenting coordination satisfactory to the court making the appointment;
- The court may with consent of the parties, or on its own motion, appoint a PC when it is in the child’s best interest to do so; however, when the court on its own motion appoints a PC without the consent of both parties, the order a must include a written explanation why the appointment is appropriate;
- An initial term of appointment shall not exceed two years. For good cause shown, the court may extend the appointment;
- The court may terminate the service of the PC at any time upon finding that there is no longer a need for the services or for other good cause;
- The role of the PC includes: assessing the family and the litigation history; educating the parties as to the impact their behavior has on the child; facilitating conflict management; and assisting the parties in the development of parenting plans and alternative resolutions to other disputes;
- If the parties are not able to decide or resolve disputes on their own or with the suggestions of the PC, the PC is empowered to make reports or recommendations to the parties and the court;
- PC recommendations, which are not agreed to by the parties, may be submitted by the PC as a written report to the court for consideration, and report shall include an explanation as to how the recommended change is expected to benefit the family as a whole.
- Communications made as part of parenting coordination, are not be confidential except as provided by law.
- Section V does not create a privileged or therapist-client privileged communication.
It is important to note that Section V is not effective until January 1, 2017.
To review the Order of the Supreme Court adding Section V click here.
To discuss this further please contact me.