(a) Purpose. In order to better serve high conflict families who are subject to parenting plans, the court may appoint parenting coordinators to provide timely intervention in parenting disputes. The parenting coordinator will assist parents in making decisions regarding their children in accordance with the parenting plan, without involving the children or the court.
(b) Qualifications of Parenting Coordinators. Individuals serving on the Thurston County Title 26 Guardian ad Litem or Mediation Registries may request to serve as a parenting coordinator. An applicant shall complete an interview and court-approved parenting coordination training and is subject to court approval. Parenting coordinators shall be listed on a separate registry.
(1) A parenting coordinator may be appointed at any time after entry of a temporary or final parenting plan.
(2) A parenting coordinator may be appointed upon the request of a party, an attorney, the guardian ad litem, or on the court’s own determination.
(3) An initial appointment of a parenting coordinator shall be for no more than ten hours. Appointments may be extended by agreement of the parties in writing or court order.
(d) Payment. The costs of a parenting coordinator shall be paid by the parties in such proportions as determined by the court. A parenting coordinator shall bill for no more than three hours of background preparation done upon appointment, including initial parent interviews.
(e) Authority of the Parenting Coordinator.
(1) A parenting coordinator will assist the parties in resolving disputed issues by clarifying misunderstandings, interpreting the parenting plan, working on compromise where appropriate, and making recommendations for resolution.
(2) A parenting coordinator will not have authority to order the parents to do anything unless the parties grant this authority in writing.
(f) Responsibilities of Parents.
(1) Each parent shall sign releases of records for the parenting coordinator.
(2) Each parent shall contact the parenting coordinator within seven days of the appointment.
(3) Each parent shall attempt to resolve parenting disputes through the parenting coordinator before initiating court action, except on issues of safety.
(g) Responsibilities of the Parenting Coordinator.
(1) The parenting coordinator shall meet with each parent after appointment.
(2) The parenting coordinator shall review the current parenting plan, any restraining or protection orders, and any guardian ad litem report.
(3) The parenting coordinator shall determine whether any hearings are scheduled and may request the hearings be postponed.
(4) The parenting coordinator shall maintain a log of contacts, agreements, recommendations, and follow-through of the parties.
(5) The parenting coordinator is not required to attend hearings unless requested by the court. If there is a contested hearing related to parenting issues during the time of the appointment, the parenting coordinator shall file with the court the relevant portions of the service log or a summary report of no more than two pages.
(h) Terminating from Parent Coordination. In the event a party or attorney believes the services of a parent coordinator are not beneficial, he or she may request the court terminate the parent coordinator’s appointment. The court may terminate a parent coordinator’s appointment for good cause.
[Effective September 1, 2009; amended effective September 1, 2010.]