What is a “parenting coordinator”?
A parenting coordinator is a person appointed by the judge in custody cases to help execute and coordinate ancillary issues of a custody order. This helps ease the burden of the trial judge in dealing with the day to day aspects of implementing a custody order. Parenting coordination has become a significant area of law in Pennsylvania child custody. One concern is the following: Is the appointment of a “parenting coordinator” the improper delegation of judicial decision-making authority? Another issue is this: what about the requisite credentials of the parenting coordinator? Should that person be an attorney? A mental health professional?
One of the leading cases in this area is Yates v. Yates, 963 A.2d 535 (Pa. Super. 2008). There, the appellate court (the Superior Court) ruled that a trial court may appoint a parenting coordinator in cases with high-conflict parents who have demonstrated difficulty in rendering parental decisions independently. There, the appellate court also constricted the parenting coordinator’s authority…
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