Separation is a difficult time for parents and their children. Some parents may find themselves in frequent conflict with one another for a long period of time following a separation or trial, particularly when the breakup was traumatic. Parents in these situations often return to court many times.
Parenting coordination is a child-focused, out-of-court dispute resolution process for separated families. Parents can meet with a parenting coordinator for help with interpreting or understanding their court order, family arbitration award or separation agreement, as they relate to parenting.
Parenting coordination is voluntary, unless the court orders parents to use parenting coordination services. Parents need to sign an agreement with the parenting coordinator for parenting coordination services. The agreement can engage the parenting coordinator for up to two years.
A parenting coordinator helps parties communicate with one another and tries to facilitate agreement on parenting issues. Parenting coordinators are trained to:
- understand the needs of the children;
- help each parent discuss their parenting related concerns;
- help parents manage, and keep children out of, conflicts.
If parents cannot come to an agreement on something, parenting coordinators can decide for them. Parenting coordinators make decisions based on information they receive from the parents; professionals such as doctors, teachers, counsellors and others; and also the children, if necessary.
A parenting coordinator does not make major decisions relating to matters of custody or access. However, they can make decisions on the following:
- minor changes to parenting access plans, such as vacations and holidays;
- children's participation in activities like ballet, hockey and attendance at special events;
- education, including any special needs considerations, like tutoring;
- how children's clothing and school items are shared between each parent's home;
- the temporary care of the children by someone other than a parent or guardian;
- the discipline of a child;
- the transportation and exchange of children between parents;
- any other matter agreed to between the parties involved.
If you would like to find a parenting coordinator, a contact list is available. (If you experience problems opening this document, please download or open with Internet Explorer.)
Information for Professionals Interested in Becoming a Parenting Coordinator
If you are interested in being recognized by the Minister as a parenting coordinator for the purposes of the Act, send your resume and cover letter to Kim Newsham at email@example.com or 306-787-2599
Your resume and/or cover letter should address the requirements set out in The Children's Law Regulations, 1998.
You must be a member in good standing of one of the following:
- Law Society of Saskatchewan
- Saskatchewan College of Psychologists
- Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers
- Family Mediation Canada
- ADR Institute of Saskatchewan Inc.
You must also have:
- completed 40 hour parenting coordination training;
- at least 5 years of family related practice;
- 14 hours of family violence training;
- if you are not a member of the Law Society of Saskatchewan, at least 14 hours of family law training;
- professional liability insurance that provides coverage for practice as a parenting coordinator.
Note that each year, 6 hours of continuing professional development related to the practice of parenting coordination is required.