When judges and general magistrates identify a case involving child-related issues as high conflict, the parents may be court ordered to Family Court Services for parenting coordination. Family Court Services provides these court ordered referrals to Parenting Coordinators in the community or may facilitate the process in-house when parties are indigent.
The purpose of parenting coordination is to provide a child-focused alternative dispute resolution process whereby an impartial third person called a parenting coordinator (PC) assists the parties in developing or implementing their parenting plan by facilitating the resolution of disputes, providing education and making recommendations to the parties, and, with the prior consent of the parties and approval of the court, making limited decisions within the scope of the order of referral.
The PC may be ordered in family law cases in which parents experience difficulties in dealing with one another in parenting their minor children, in order to help them develop, modify, and implement their parenting plan, monitor compliance with the details of their time-sharing arrangement, and help them resolve their child-related disputes in a timely manner. The PC may provide education about effective co-parenting strategies, and may refer the parties to community resources for services and treatment, if necessary. When the parties agree, the court order gives the PC the authority to make temporary decisions on child-related issues in order to immediately relax the parents’ conflict. These decisions may not be substantive in nature, and must be within the scope of the court’s order of referral.
Florida Statute 61.125, effective October 1, 2009, governs the practice of parenting coordination in Florida, and delineates specific qualifications of a court appointed parenting coordinator:
1. One of the following: license as a mental health professional under chapter 490 or chapter 491; license as a physician under chapter 458, with certification by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology; certification as a Florida Supreme Court Family Law Mediator, with at least a master’s degree in a mental health field; member in good standing of The Florida Bar.
2. All of the following: three years of post-licensure or post-certification practice; training in family mediation program certified by the Florida Supreme Court; minimum of 24 hours training as specified in F.S. 61.125 (2)(c); minimum of 4 hours training in domestic violence and child abuse which is related to parenting coordination.
For more information, see statute 61.125 Parenting coordination.
Please see the Parenting Coordination Administrative Order 09-15 Parenting Coordination in Family Law Cases which includes the Court Order of Referral to Parenting Coordinator, and describes the court-ordered functions of a PC, in accordance with F.S. 61.125. This standard Order of Referral to Parenting Coordinator should be used in all cases.
The Family Court Services Unit of the Administrative Office of the Court is responsible for all court ordered referrals to PCs in the 11th Judicial Circuit. As per the Order, both parties must contact Family Court Services, who will provide the referral, coordinate the process, and monitor compliance for the court. Family Court Services has compiled a list of PCs which includes professionals who have met the current statutory requirements and taken a four hour specific training on procedures and protocols regarding the practice of parenting coordination in this circuit. When contacting Family Court Services, the parties may provide the name of a PC of their choice or will be given the opportunity to select a parenting coordinator from the Family Court Services PC Resource List. If the parties do not agree to a specific PC, Family Court Services will choose one for them based upon location, language, affordability, and other factors related to the parties. For parties that are indigent, the court may indicate that Family Court Services will provide parenting coordination directly, in which case no fee is required.
If you are interested in becoming a Parenting Coordinator, please send your completed application, curriculum vitae and any supplementary information (certifications, training, etc.) to:
Family Court Services
175 NW 1st Avenue, 15th Floor
Miami Florida 33128
Phone: 305-349-5575/Fax: 305-349-5634
Parenting Coordinators Application(Acrobat)
Report of General Magistrate on Motion for Referral to Parenting Coordinator