Parenting Coordinator and Oklahoma Child Custody Law

What is a Parenting Coordinator

The Parenting Coordinator Act allows the court or parties to ask that a 3rd party individual, often another attorney, act as the Parenting Coordinator. Parenting Coordinator’s are usually appointed after a Final Decree of Divorce or Paternity has been filed with the court, with the court making a decision that the case is still involves a risk of high-conflict between the parties.

Each judicial district shall adopts their own rules governing the qualifications of a parenting coordinator; provided, however, a qualified parenting coordinator will need to have a master’s degree in mental or behavioral health with training and experience in family mediation and be a certified mediator or be a licensed mental health professional or licensed attorney practicing in an area related to families. The appointment approximately last for a two year period and may be extended when appropriate.

The Parenting Coordinator’s duty is to aid the parties in complying with a court’s order of custody, visitation, or guardianship. This is done through a few initial appointments and meetings, with follow up meetings as necessary. After a meeting the Parenting Coordinator, will issue a written report addressing the: issues of the meeting, resolutions met, issues to be discussed at future meetings, and the Parenting Coordinator’s recommendations to the court. Unless a party objects or responds to the Parenting Coordinator’s report and recommendations within 10 days, a Court may then enter those recommendations as a new court Order..

However it is important to note that a Parenting Coordinator is not authorized to make recommendations to the court concerning which parent should have custody, nor is the coordinator allowed to make binding recommendations or change court orders. Instead, the parenting coordinator’s job is solely to help the parents address concerns and facilitate agreements between the parents as to the raising and care of the children.