Frequently Asked Questions About Parenting Coordination

  1. What are the goals of parenting coordination?
  2. How is this program different from a mandated divorce seminar?
    Four or six hour seminars are intended to give parents an overview of the divorce process, the impact of conflict on their child and some dos and don’ts to keep their child out of the middle. While most divorce seminars are didactic in nature, parent coordination goes much further than an educational program. Parenting coordination is a form of Alternative Divorce Resolution (ADR) for high conflict families to resolve parenting issues as part of their divorce or post divorce.
  3. What situations indicate the need for the appointment of a Parenting Coordinator (PC)?
  4. What are the costs of Parenting Coordination services?
    Parenting Coordination services with Keirsten J. Roath are billed in quarter hour increments at $130 per hour. Payment for office sessions is expected at the time they occur. Monthly invoices will be sent for other services provided including, but not limited to, phone calls, emails, court reports and collateral contacts. Parents are responsible for the full cost of their individual intake appointments and any other individual time. Parents will share the costs of joint and child sessions based on the percentages issued by their court order.
  5. Does insurance cover any of the expenses?
    Although Parenting Coordinators are all licensed psychotherapists, the nature of parent coordination is substantially and qualitatively different. Parent coordination is not considered psychotherapy and therefore no insurance may be used.
  6. If it is not therapy, is the process confidential?
    Since written reports and testimony may be provided, it is understood that parenting coordination is not a confidential process.
  7. Can parents participate without a court order?
    The appointment of a PC requires either a court order or a stipulation signed by both parents. The language of either document must be very specific to avoid confusion by either parent or their attorneys.
  8. Is it best to begin the process after a divorce?
    Parents may be appointed a PC pre or post divorce. Parents who are in the process of a divorce will generally use their joint sessions to create and resolve their parenting plan to forward to their attorneys or the court. Some will spend the majority of their joint sessions addressing parental behaviors and how to reduce stress for their child. Those parents who are appointed a PC after their divorce or years post-divorce, generally work on all their goals with special attention to their impaired communication and reducing loopholes in their divorce document.
  9. Do the children also participate in some way?
    The PC may meet with the children once to meet them and to assess the level of conflict they have experienced. If the child has a therapist, the PC will keep in close contact with all therapists as needed.
  10. Do other significant individuals participate in the joint sessions?
    The PC determines who should be included in the joint sessions and when it would be beneficial to introduce others such as stepparents into the process. The ultimate goal is to include all parenting figures in order to work together as a team. The same applies to any significant relative who plays a role in raising the child or who maybe contributing to the conflict.
  11. What happens if a parent will not cooperate with the program or they refuse to participate?
    The PC generally informs both attorneys and the Court when one or both parents have refused to comply or they are creating an impasse that negatively impacts the child.
  12. How do the parents get released from the program?
    If the parents have been moved to an “as needed basis” they are not required to schedule sessions unless problems arise that they are unable to resolve. For those families with an indefinite appointment, they may be released from the program by one of three means: 1) both parents request in writing that they want to terminate services or 2) the Judge removes the family from the program or 3) The PC recommends termination of services to the court.
  13. What if there is a protective order or one parent is anxious about being in the same room with their co-parent?
    Generally the order will clarify that any thing to do with the PC process is an exception to the restraining order. In addition the Coordinator can develop protective measures as needed.
  14. Can the sessions be audio or video taped?
    Neither parent is allowed to tape the joint sessions. However, the PC may do so for educational purposes by either parent. The PC determines if and when this may be helpful to the process. Tapes are not released to anyone outside the office unless subpoenaed by the Court.
  15. Are there any state standards written on parent coordination or a licensing board to monitor quality control when a PC has stepped beyond their role as coordinator?
    Unfortunately, at this time, there are no separate licenses for PC’s and therefore, no licensing boards in any of the states. The AFCC has developed the Standards for Parenting Coordination, which have been adopted for PC’s practicing in Indiana.
  16. Does the PC ever testify in court and can they make a custody recommendation?
    There are circumstances in which a PC may be subpoenaed to court: 1) If a court date has been set prior to the appointment of the PC 2) if the PC process breaks down 3) if the Court requests a final update from the PC or 4) if either parent files a motion and provides a subpoena for the PC to appear. A PC does not have the authority to make custody recommendations. They may however, make known their concerns regarding time-sharing arrangements, co-parenting respect and each parent’s strengths as well as their weaknesses and their contribution to the conflict.
  17. Are there any books written that will help clarify the role and value of appointing parent coordinators?
    There are very few books on parent coordination. The concept of an appointed PC was first identified by Garrity and Baris in their book entitled, Caught in the Middle. Since then a text Working with High Conflict, was released to further identify the use of parenting coordinators. The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts Task Force on Parenting Coordination produced an extensive paper detailing the role and practices in each state. In 2004, Haworth Press released the first comprehensive manual on parent coordination entitled The Psychotherapist as Parent Coordinator in High-Conflict Divorce: Strategies and Techniques by Boyan and Termini.