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Pennsylvania Enacts New Rules for Parenting Coordination Plans

Raising a child can be difficult and even more challenging when parents live in separate homes. Simple aspects of daily care, such as who will pick a child up from school, can turn into arguments. Problems may also arise when one parent wants to bypass a custody agreement, such as by taking the child on vacation. When a parenting coordinator is involved in child custody matters, he or she works to relieve tension between parents and come up with agreeable custody arrangements.

In March 2019, after a multi-year pause on using parenting coordinators in contested child custody cases, the practice was reintroduced when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopted new Parenting Coordination Rules. They are meant to alleviate the concern that parental rights could be violated while also providing parents with a reliable means to resolve custody and visitation disagreements outside of court.

Parenting coordinators are trained lawyers or qualified mental health advocates appointed by a court to help parents agree on important aspects of their children’s daily lives. They propose ways to overcome conflicts, considering the best interests of children and the abilities of each parent. With the understanding that children benefit when their parents treat each other with respect, they strive to foster a cordial relationship so that even if parents do not get along in all aspects of their personal lives, they can find common ground when it comes to caring for their children. When all parties work toward a common goal, children can enjoy a more stable and peaceful environment.

A court may appoint a parenting coordinator for a period of up to one year, which can be extended if need be. Though the parenting coordinator can play a crucial role in helping parents to establish amicable communication, he or she cannot change either parent’s legal or physical custody rights nor can alter the overall visitation time agreement. Parents cannot fire a parenting coordinator without permission from the court.

The family attorneys at The Law Offices of Jennifer Courtney & Associates, P.C. are well-versed in Pennsylvania laws governing child custody and visitation. If you are involved in a complicated custody battle with your ex, you may benefit from working with a parenting coordinator. Or if you believe your parenting coordinator to be biased, it may be time to petition the court for a change. From our office in Yardley, Pennsylvania, we represent Bucks County parents dealing with all types of custody issues. To speak with a qualified professional, call us at 215.493.3360 or contact us online.

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